Meet the Teams: Krishi Utsho

In Bangladesh informal village level micro‐entrepreneur input suppliers, the primary source of inputs and advisory services for most smallholder farmers, either don’t exist or crowd out/cannibalize each other’s businesses because they operate within the same limited ranges.  Where they do exist these micro‐entrepreneurs often lack access to formal supplies of quality agriculture inputs, market information, technical knowledge, business skills, and access to working capital to serve the smallholders who depend on them. As a result modern technologies, products and services cannot reach farmers, which ultimately limits their livelihood and resilience potential. Additionally, formal input supply companies do not know who their final customers are because their direct connection in their distribution chain does not extend to the last‐mile retailers and farmers. As a result, they cannot ensure product quality at the village level.

Resolving these issues would allow many smallholder farmers to increase their productivity by at least 50% and increase their income by 30% as demonstrated in our current operation areas. For this reason, CARE initiated Krishi Utsho (KU) agro input retailers’ microfranchise1 network in 2012 in rural Bangladesh as a one-stop solution to provide timely access to affordable and quality agriculture inputs and advisory services for rural smallholder farmers, particularly women. KU franchisees sell a variety of quality agricultural inputs at the village level, and provide formal private extension and advisory services to the farmers living in their communities. Through selecting and branding franchisees at the very last mile the network serves over 25,000 smallholder farmers, particularly vulnerable women in Southwestern and Northwestern Bangladesh, contributing to their increased productivity and resilience.

An impact assessment survey conducted by Krishi Utsho in 2015 on a sample of 400 farmers it served demonstrated that 58% farmers increased expenditure in goods, 56% increased their spending on education, 57% increased health spending, 54% increased their agriculture expenditure and 31% increased farmers’ income, from $171 to $225.


Meet the Team

MARUF AZAM | General Manager – Krishi Utsho Microfranchise | CARE Bangladesh    

With more than 12 years of professional experience in both the non-profit and for-profit arena, Maruf has an extensive technical and business background.  He is an expert in business development and hence, responsible for, the strategic planning, supply chain, management, business development, financial planning and overall leadership of Krishi Utsho.  Maruf has his MBA in Marketing from the University of Dhaka.

SABRINA SAHRIN| Project Support Officer (L&D) | CARE Bangladesh

Sabrina is working as the Monitoring and Evaluation expert in the Krishi Utsho team.  She is responsible in tracking the progress of the scaling-up efforts of KU and manages records as well as document and analyze evidence on the social-economic impact of KU.  She studied Development Studies and Information Communication Technology which puts her in the right place to manage MIS data, track KU activities, and analyze impact.

SCOTT MERRILL | Senior Technical Advisor – Markets & Livelihoods | CARE USA

Scott is a private sector development specialist and has over ten years of experience facilitating value chain and market development programs to address issues in agriculture, food security, climate change resilience, and disaster risk reduction in Bangladesh, Uganda, Zambia, Myanmar, Lebanon, Afghanistan, the Philippines, and Mongolia, among other countries.  Scott brings strong systems perspective to Krishi Utsho’s transformation to a self-sustaining agro inputs franchise.  Scott holds an MA in International Relations and International Economics from John Hopkins and speaks English, Bengali, and basic knowledge of French.

NURUL SIDDIQUEE | Technical Advisor – Sustainable Agriculture | CARE USA

Siddiquee has been engaged with the Krishi Utsho initiative from the very beginning and contributed to the thought process of the evolution of the model over time.  He brings core agriculture and agro ecology expertise to the team and helps connect the idea between sustainable pro poor agro economic transformation and supply of quality agro inputs through standardized franchise business. In his role as Technical Advisor he primarily supports CARE’s women-focused agriculture program, Pathways, which is located in six countries located in South East Asia and Africa.


47_CARE Impact Challange - Krishi Utsho

Meet the Teams: Public Private Partnerships (PPP)

This innovative solution consists of three key pillars:

  • A unique public-private partnership (PPP) between the government, the community and a new cadre of private, community-based, skilled, female, health providers. With funding from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), this new cadre of providers are selected from the community, trained using WHO/Ministry of Health (MoH) accredited curriculum, and are supervised and monitored by the government in collaboration with the community.
  • Community ownership through the establishment of a Community Support System (CmSS), a local government-led community mobilization model that empowers the community to play a key role in addressing demand and supply side barriers through health promotion, referral support and accountability. CmSS actively contributes to identifying appropriate female candidates for health provider training, negotiates and sets fees for service with private providers (which are in line with community needs), builds awareness and promotes the services of the new cadre of private providers, supports timely referral, and monitors coverage, quality and equity of service provision to ensure transparency, accountability and voice of the community.
  • Social entrepreneurship and business training from JITA (CARE’s social entrepreneurship initiative) for the new cadre of providers. This training helps them develop business plans and become financially sustainable and independent by selling their health services. They also receive government reimbursement for serving poor and marginalized women through national and local social safety schemes.

Learn more about PPP by watching this video documentary!

Meet the Team

Jahangir Hossain | Program Director-Health | CARE Bangladesh 

Jahangir Hoassian is a Health and Development Program development professional with over 23 years of experience in development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Primary Health Care (PHC), Reproductive Health (RH), HIV, Nutrition, WASH, Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH) programs in Pakistan, Cambodia and Bangladesh. He has provided leadership and strategic guidance to different Health, Hygiene, Nutrition and Family Planning program with budget about $30 Million in 14 districts in Bangladesh and has a special interest in public Health System Development, health and nutrition in emergency, and Behavior Change Communication (BCC) to address equity and gender issues in accessing the basic health services. Jahangir  is a registered physician with Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree from Dhaka University, Bangladesh and Master in Science (MSc), Public Health in Developing Countries degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, UK.

Rina Rani Paul | Program Manager-Research | CARE Bangladesh

Rina Rani Paul has  more than eight years experience in program and research settings that resulted in an in-depth understanding of the contextual issues related to health and nutrition in Bangladesh, especially maternal and child health and nutrition and community health system. She has worked with leading Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Research Projects in Bangladesh for four years, implementing and monitoring both efficacy and effectiveness studies in the community.  In addition, she has worked with reputed study groups conducting large clinical trials and cohort studies and following pregnant women and adult population for health outcomes. Starting as a field worker, she was progressively entrusted and challenged with more complex and supervisory work involving research project management. Rina Rani passed the MBBS from Rajshahi Medical College under Rajshahi University in Bangladesh in 2000 and is currently enrolled in the Masters in Public Health Programme under the Department of Public Health, State University in Bangladesh.

Mariela Rodriguez | Senior Program Officer-SRMH | CARE USA

Mariela Rodriguez  is Senior Program Officer for Knowledge Management and Global Coordination for the Sexual, Reproductive and Maternal Health (SRMH) team at CARE. Mariela focuses on finding ways to elevate and share CARE’s global SRMH programming across the CARE world and with external partners and donors. Prior to working at CARE, Mariela worked on rights-based approaches to voluntary family planning, maternal health policy networks, gender inequality and human rights.  She has co-authored four peer-reviewed journal articles.  She received her master’s in Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs from American University’s School of International Service and her BA in Political Science from Georgia State University.

To be hired | Senior Account Manager-Health | CARE UK