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May 10, 2020

The dedicated COVID-19 response staff of SHOUHARDO III-Razu Ahmed

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Dave Bookbinder, wrote, “People are an organization’s most valuable asset and the key to its success” in his book, The New Roi: Return on Individuals.

This the first blog from the staff profile series, telling the stories of SHOUHARDO’s most valuable keys to success.

Razu Ahmed

Razu, Technical Officer – Off-farm Livelihood & Financial Inclusion in Nikli, Kishorganj hails from Satkhira, the southern part of Bangladesh. Razu began his journey in the development sector with World Vision in 2010, while he was still a student of Islamic History & Culture. He worked and studied full time simultaneously to help out his family. After seven years of experience in development work, he joined SHOUHARDO in 2017. Currently, he is an employee of CARE Bangladesh’s implementing partner for USAID’s SHOUHARDO III program, People’s Oriented Program Implementation (POPI).

Razu expressed his experience at SHOUHARDO III, “I am fascinated by CARE’s Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLAapproach to savings. There was a lady from the community saving group who told me that she wrote something for the first time after nearly 15 years, it made me immensely proud that I was a small part of this beautiful journey of hers.” He believes SHOUHARDO’s holistic approach to development gave him a broad perspective in his work. The community groups are not only coming together to increase their savings, they are also coming together for organizing vaccination camps for their animals; they are coming together and buying quality seeds as a group.  Their collectiveness is an inspiration for Razu.

SHOUHARDO’s governance approach allows women and men from the communities to come forward and raise their voices. “During this COVID-19 pandemic, about 60% of our participants are getting relief from the government. That is all because they are aware of what they are entitled to, and they can talk. When we will go away, I am certain that these amazing people will show great strength and will be able to sustain all the teachings of SHOUHARDO.”

 

Since late March 2020 – the entire nation has been on lockdown due to COVID-19. However, duty calls; to provide food ration to pregnant and breastfeeding women, even amidst this crisis, Razu is visiting house-to-house and delivering the ration himself. He is also a part of the local committee for tackling COVID-19 through raising awareness. He has been active in verifying more than 4,000 poor and extreme poor households from the SHOUHARDO areas for relief.

Although his mother often makes worried phone calls, he is too motivated to be fearful of his life. He maintains social distancing and wears the protective gear provided by the program. For him, his strength is the gratefulness that the participants have shown whenever he drops off food at their doorstep. He would have felt even better if there was health insurance coverage for him and his wife, should he get infected by the coronavirus.

The young development practitioner likes watching games of cricket, taking photos, reading Humayun Ahmed books, listening to Lata Mangeshkar, and Sabina Yasmin songs in his free time. He aspires to start his own NGO someday. He is particularly keen on working on reproductive health and hygiene of adolescent girls, and elderly people. He would love to establish a decent old home for the helpless elderly generation someday.

 

Written by Iffat Khan, Knowledge Management Coordinator of SHOUHARDO III, CARE Bangladesh.