Future Solution For Business
Amar Desh Amar Gram (My Country My Village) is the first project of its kind that takes computers and web access to the lowest income group and empowers them with a possibility that was never previously available to them before. This project takes digital technology out to the farthest corners of our country, bringing change to countless lives.
The project itself is an innovative model in the sense that it is dedicated to minimize the digital gap of rural and city life by creating market linkage for rural communities, providing demand based technical education for the youth, followed by several income opportunities and developing portfolios of local resources in the individual district websites. In addition, it is creating a platform for rural entrepreneurs, producers and youths to translate their innovative ideas and plans into reality.
E-commerce has been implemented so many times in so many countries but it is very rare in Bangladesh and in our country, we are the pioneers, to take e-commerce to mass people. Amazon and Ebay - the renowned e-commerce sites, exist as warehouses but our project is the only e-commerce platform which actually doesn’t have a warehouse; rather, it connects the rural producers to the consumers. In a country like Bangladesh, just introducing e-trade or popularizing the concept is innovative on its own. www.amardesheshop.com is the only website with physical e-centres which other websites do not have. On top of this, we are taking the technology to the masses of people in the rural areas to enable them to do e -trade.
Bangladesh a developing country with a population of 142.3 million with around 40.1% (est) of the population below the poverty line. One major issue on the road to further success in Bangladesh is the parochial dogmas of the sexes predominantly in the rural areas. Women are restricted at home and domestic chores take up most of their time. Working outside home is frowned upon. Only in the urban cities do women have access to a better independent life - but with proper training and guidelines and with an easy access to markets, these women could have done much more in contributing to the economic development of their family. Another major problem is farmers and the producers not getting the fair price due to the syndication system and the middlemen present in our country don’t get the direct access to the market or sell to the consumers directly. The lack of easily accessible markets and collusion by the traders pose significant constraints in both agricultural input and output markets. Marketing margins are high, relative to services provided. Lack of market information and infrastructure, the poor law and order situation, the existence of syndicates, and collection of illegal tolls further aggravate the situation. Due to lack of communication, information and proper distribution, 40% of the vegetables grown in Bangladesh every year get rotten and thrown out. On the other hand, farmers are demotivated from growing more products as they are always deprived of the fair price.
Internet technology, enhancing the lives of thousands of poor people, has been an obsession for Ataur Rahman and a great part of his working career. Instead of choosing a life in the USA (where his family lives) or in the UK (where he studied and had a successful business) or even an “upper class life” in Dhaka, he is dedicatedly working to assure that everybody in Bangladesh is connected to a network where they can trade, share knowledge, culture, etc. to alleviate poverty and social classification.
To connect Bangladesh to the digital age, “My Country My Village” was established at www.mycountrymyvillage.com . This project offers a real possibility of a Digital Bangladesh, where digital technology reaches out to the furthest corners of the country bringing change to countless lives.
“Amar Desh Amar Gram” is a project which has the potential to make such a difference for so many poor people.
The concept is very simple and yet so difficult to implement. The effort, courage, stamina and vision of Ataur Rahman, in addition to his willingness to dedicate his time and money in order to assure the project implementation, is outstanding and admirable.
The initiative has so many sympathetic and important components for power alleviation and rural development:
• Access to the internet for the rural population
• Training in ICT in rural Bangladesh
• The possibility for poor people - many currently without any income - to sell directly to the end user
• Assure regional development and thereby avoiding the increasing problems with urbanization
• Connect people in Bangladesh (not only the few large cities) through the internet
Ataur Rahman’s goal was to build a transparent system that would break down the digital divide between urban and rural communities and bring about a desired behavioral change in trading and communication especially for rural empowerment.
Almost 80 percent of Bangladesh’s population lives in the rural areas, with 54 percent of them employed in agriculture and the remainder in the rural non-farm (RNF) sector. Poverty in Bangladesh is primarily a ’rural phenomenon’, with 53 percent of its rural population classified as poor, comprising about 85 percent of the country’s poor. Achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty to 26.5 percent by 2015 will require a growth rate of at least 4.0 percent in agriculture and 7.0 percent in the non-farm sector. However, economic and institutional realities, the country’s geographical and demographic characteristics, and its vulnerability to natural disasters, makes this a very challenging task.
A simple idea bringing together the rural and urban avoiding the middle in between and giving the low rural classes an opportunity through a new market created on the information highway – That is what “Amar Desh Amar Gram” is.
Some of the major problems which we are trying to solve using E-commerce and ICT based network are gender discrimination, unemployment, direct access to the market for fair trading for rural economy development and to break the technological divide.There is no better way than using Informative technology to mitigate aspects of this global disease that we call poverty, towards a more self dependant Bangladesh. We have created a project that takes computers and web access to the lowest income group and empowers them with a possibility that was never previously available to them. The project creates a virtual marketplace named as “Amar Desh eSHOP” for better economic opportunities for the rural agro-producers, underprivileged women and rural communities of Bangladesh. “Amar Desh Amar Gram” is a solution for reduction in rural-urban migration. If the victims are under the effect of climate change, it would not affect their livelihood as they have their own identity and virtual mall from where they can earn again. She can start earning again through her establishment in the virtual world which is recognized nationally and internationally. Our project is benefitting low income people mainly the producers and also the consumers. At this time, there are 800-1200 customers’ orders per week, mainly from urban areas. 5500 producers, most of who are registered at our e-shops, are now earning a higher income than what they used to through the usual value chains. People who are using e-centres, particularly women who are trading, report that the ability to work at home and generate income through direct sales is extremely empowering.
For e-commerce, we use Magento platform. It requires a dedicated hosting server to run it. Application development is done by using PHP.
The following is our feature list -
• Control multiple websites and stores from one
• Administration Panel with ability to share as much or as little information as needed
• Administration Permission System Roles and Users
• Multistore integrate
• Customer Groups
• PCI complaint
• MamCashing for mass visitor
• Content Management System for Informational Pages
• Google Website Optimizer Integration
• Gift Certificates/Cards
• Order Archiving
• Highly Tuned Page Performance with Full Page Caching
• Recently Compared Items
• New Items Promotional Tool
• Cross-sells on product pages
• Send to a Friend for all visitors, or registered users only
• Send Wishlist to a Friend by Email
• Hosting Server Details
• CentOS Linux with Full Root Access (64-bit with 32-bit Compatibility)
• Apache Web Server
• Supports: MySQL, PHP, Perl, Python (Django), Ruby (on Rails), FFMpeg
• Dell PowerEdge Servers
• Dual Nehalem CPUs (16 Hyperthreaded cores)
• Fault Tolerant RAID-10 Disk Array with Enterprise Drives
• Fully redundant network with no single point of failure
• Multiple layers of network security
• Multiple bandwidth providers (AboveNet, ATT, Comcast, Global Crossing, Level(3), NTT)
• Integration mechanism
• Magento platform has mobile integration built-in (it is in the development phase).
• We also integrate payment gateway with local banks (BRAC bank and Dutch Bangla Bank) to support VISA and MASTER card.
• 3D secured payment system
• It is being using worldwide. All that is required is an internet connection.
Service & Support:
• 24/7 customer service, Technical support ,
• State of the art Data Center with backup power generators and HVAC units.
• Auto backup daily
The e-centres established at the rural areas act as hubs - they collect the products from the poor and the poorest producers, from all over villages, and then open up national and international markets for them, which otherwise would not be available to them. Amar Desh eshop is the virtual market for the uprising rural communities of Bangladesh. Everyday villagers come with anything they produce, even if it is just a single vegetable, and catalogue it on the internet at the e-centers. A buyer from hundreds of miles away glances through the catalogues and places an order with an electronic card. In less than two days he/she receives the product which he usually buys at a higher price from city markets. Back in the village, the producer receives a fair price, as the money gets electronically transferred through a highly secured e-commerce payment gateway to the producer’s bank account upon delivery. Today, fishermen from far off Mongla (south-west coastal district) are selling fish in the heart of Dhaka city, women sitting at home producing simple handicrafts or vegetables are earning by selling all over Bangladesh and even abroad, farmers growing fresh vegetables are supplying to city markets. The journey does not end there - the centers that control this supply chain are controlled by youths that are trained in the infinite world of e-commerce, and they themselves go on to teach others.
Bangladesh is a country with 80% of the population living in the rural area. To set up the e-commerce service the project is providing the following services:
1) Infrastructure (setting up an e-center)
2) Hardware (computers, laptops, projectors, cameras, etc)
3) Connectivity (Internet connection)
4) Skilled Human Resource -Training to the manager who will run and manage the center
5) Dynamic Technical Support and e-Commerce Solution development
6) Payment Gateway Support
7) Delivery System
8) Order management and Customer Support
9) Marketing and Promotion
Bangladesh is a country with 80% of the population living in the rural area. To set up the e-commerce service the project is proving the following services:
1) Infrastructure ( setting up an e-center )
2) Hardware (computer , laptops , projector, camera etc)
3) Connectivity (Internet connection)
4) Skilled Human resource-Training to the manager who will run and manage the center
5) Dynamic technical support e-commerce Solution development
6) Payment Gateway support
7) Delivery system
8) Order management and customer support
9) Marketing and promotion
Till date, we have established 7 e-centers and the beneficiary:
1. Amar Desh eShop (e-commerce platform)
• 5500 entrepreneurs have been enlisted
2. eDesh (country web portal)
• 84000 local community people are served from 7 e-centers.
3. Ami Hobo Shonirbhor (ICT training for rural development)
• 834 above students are being trained. More than 150 women are trained from a center on ICT.
Our achievements came when we got some major awards in 2011-2012. “Amar Desh Amar Gram” and FSB (Future Solutions for Business) ltd. Awards and Achievements To Date: • Date: October 24, 2012 WITSA Global ICT Excellence Awards Link: http://www.witsa.org/v2/media_center/pdf/2012AwardsPR_v01.pdf • Date: September 11, 2012: ICT Summit Eurasia 2012 There were 12 finalists, among whom were- 1) ARDIÇ Technology 2) CARDTEK Group 3) FSB (Future Solution for Business Ltd.) – Bangladesh 4) INNOVA 5) KOMTEL Technologies 6) SİSOFT Healthcare Information Systems 7) TAV Information Technologies 8) TELENITY 9) TURKCELL 10) TURK TELEKOMUNIKASYON Euro GmbH FSB won the jury's special award. Link: http://www.bilisimzirvesi.com.tr/12/2012/09/11/ict-summit-eurasia-awards12-kazananlari/?lang=en • Date: 12th November 2011 United Nation MDGs Goal World Summit Youth Award 2011 Link: http://youthaward.org/winners/my-country-my-village “My Country My Village” has been selected by the WSYA Jury 2011 as one of the most outstanding examples of creative and innovative e-Content, addressing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals –in the Category “Power 2 Women”. As such, it has been chosen among over 700 contributions as one of the 33 most outstanding examples of creative and innovative e-Content worldwide which address the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The World Summit Youth Award (WSYA) is a follow up activity of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) and its action plan towards the year 2015 to help bridge the digital divide and form a sustainable information society. The WSYA selects and promotes best practice in e-content and serves as a platform for young people from all UN member states who use Internet and Mobiles to get Action on the MDGs. Link: http://youthaward.org/winners/my-country-my-village • Date: 2nd December 2011 Manthan Award, South Asia Digital inclusion for development in rural areas in the category of e-Business and Enterprise. Link: http://manthanaward.org/section_full_story.asp?id=1050 • Date: 2nd December 2011 E-Asia 2011 Award Won the award in the category of Best Business Model in localized application/content from South Asia for the project “Amar Desh Amar Gram”. • Date: 6th -8th July 2011 Digital Innovation Fair Organized by Government National Digital Innovation Award on e-commerce, Business and Finance Link: http://www.eaward.org.bd/eaward_new/PDF/77.pdf The only company in Bangladesh among the Private sector for the project "Amar Desh Amar Gram".
Sadequa Hassan Sejuti