A New Direction

Rawshan Ara Mili grew up in the southern coastal belt of Bangladesh, and always had a dream to contribute towards the development of her community. After working in many national and international organisations for 22 years, she decided to pursue those dreams. In 2006 Mili started an organisation named ‘Source of Hope and Ambition’, with an aim to improve the quality of life for the climate affected communities of Khulna Division. In 2013, she was awarded a project on integrated water management and biogas generation in the coastal area by Rural Development Authority (RDA). The water treatment plant they established has served over 10000 people.

The biogas plant was set up in Dacope sub-district of Khulna last year. The strategy was to collect dairy waste from farms in the vicinity at the fixed rate, and generating biogas that would be then supplied to households who were using firewood for cooking. However, after the plant became operational it was found that the gas pressure was too low, and not suitable for cooking. Mili and her team could not locate the problem and gradually began to grow frustrated. They even considered shutting down the plant completely. In this uncertain period, RDA informed her about a training for service providers on commercial biogas generation. She was very interested and joined with the hope of solving some of her ongoing problems.

After finishing the three day training with 14 other biogas service providers, Mili’s spirits are now greatly uplifted. From issues in construction to making a sound business plan, the training agenda covered many subjects that caused her problems while implementing her project. Mili was especially happy with the clear approach of the trainers, saying that even with a non-technical academic background, she had no difficulty in understanding the subject matter. She even formed some new ideas about raw material sourcing and marketing mechanism through discussion with her fellow trainees. Mili says that she received this training just at the right time, and it has given her the push and direction that she desperately needed.