Mohammad Serajul Islam (Shaikh)

Ashoka Fellow
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Fellow Since 1992

Citation

This profile was prepared when Mohammad Serajul Islam (Shaikh) was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1992.
The New Idea
While tens of thousands of people die every year from the malnutrition resulting from food scarcity, research indicates that most Bangladeshi village homes have at least five square meters of land that is not used by the family. This land, however small, could be cultivated, producing enough vegetables to meet the nutritional requirements of a four to five person family or to provide additional income for the family. However, in order to take advantage of these small lands, farmers must learn certain basic agricultural techniques. Creative cultivation of such unused homestead land could easily gain widespread acceptance if properly publicized and taught to rural people. While Seraj has produced TV shows on these topics, the television system in Bangladesh has limited viewership and financial support to retain program tapes once broadcast. Seraj proposes to develop popular videotapes on the subject and spread them through grassroots citizen organizations, local administrations, agricultural clubs, local video libraries, and other points accessible to farmers throughout the country. This video link will disseminate his ideas directly to poor families in some cases and through a wide variety of intermediaries in others.
Once he constructs this network to reach the country's millions of poor households with his homestead farming message, he can of course continue to use it to help develop other opportunities, such as reforestation and animal husbandry.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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