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SETU Development Fair 2011
January 31, 2011
On the 17th of January, 2011, at the Town Club of Nilphamari uppazila, SETU organized a Development Fair with a set bunch of criteria. The goals were: Sharing SETU’s community Led Total Development Approach that addresses underlying causes of poverty using CARE Bangladesh’s Programming Approach with Government Officials and civil society members. Demonstrating ‘the most promising practices’ by the extremely poor to get out of poverty to influence development practices. Enhancing ownership of the project amongst natural leaders, union parishads, government and non-government service providers.

The fair also served as a discussion forum and not only as a venue to sell products of rural producers. Different issues related to extreme poverty were discussed with wider audiences. In the opening day, Upazilla Nirbahi Officer, Kishoreganj, Nilphamari discussed how to access khas land, where the extremely poor people, natural leaders and general public raised many issues (e.g. processes of getting access to common properties khas-land, waterbodies, barriers faced by the extremely poor people and probable strategies to solve these, etc). The fair created a unique opportunity for the Government Officials, Union Parishads, Natural Leaders, NGO Officials and general people, especially extremely poor women and men to interact with each other on issues related to extreme poverty.

A total of 34 stalls were set up in Nilphamari Development Fair. Stalls mainly consisted of products from SETU’s extremely poor participants: shoe shops, products from
food processing (jilpi, batasha, achar, piaju, chop, tileghaja, etc), bamboo-made
products (dali, kula, mora, etc), cream separator shop, cold-cake, mini garments (children
clothes), mushrooms, tea stall, Rural Business Centre (RBC) products, RUG unit products, Nijera Cottage & Village Industries (NCVI) products (honey, kantha, stole, scarf, tablemat, fotua, etc), para-vet information centre etc.

Other local, national and international NGOs also participated in the fair. RDSS (a
Rangpur-based NGO) put up a stall to sell the products made by their handicapped
participants. Pollisree (a regional NGO) had a stall, named 'Pollisree Tattha Probaho or
(Pollisree Information Flow). Another NGO, named 'Dhanshiri' participated in the fair to
disseminate the environment-related information.

'Natural Leader Organization' demonstrated the process of community
mobilization and portrayed the working strategies of how to ensure extremely poor
people's participation to put pressure for transparency & accountability of Union
Prishad. An 'Information Centre' is also set on behalf of CARE Nilphamari - where different documents (project brief, different Participatory Poverty Exercises Tools, governance strategies, gender-sensitivity, protecting eve-teasing, etc) were demonstrated.

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