Good things take time they say! In our case I believe that is true. Combining our everyday business at Sandlund/Hossain with our CFI project has truly been a challenge, both taking a lot of time and energy, but the “good” definitely make it worth while. I’ve listed some short points and you can also find a more “generous” update from our esteemed blogger Jan Sandlund below.
The cows We have now distributed a total of 76 calves to families. As you know the work has been delayed due to various challenges we have encountered but we feel that we have now reached a good structure and understanding of how to go about with the rest of the distribution of calves. Our ambition is to distribute 20-25 calves every month until we have reached all the 250 families. We will also send individual information to all of you Cow Funders who has gotten your calf distributed, so you can see the calf and know more about the family who has received it.
We can already see that the economical part of the project has kicked in. We have had some families that had to return their calf since they, for a different reasons, couldn’t continue. Accordingly we agreed to buy back the calf to give another family. The earnings for only 6 months has been ca 1000sek for the family, which is a huge income. The problem we now face is that more families wants to do the same, since they see the income they can get. This is a key part of the project, to create a sense of long term thinking among the families. So in a way, its good that we haven’t distributed all the calves since we now can adress this issue more clearly in the contract. Of course we want them to stay for the whole period, since their earnings would be much higher. At the same time, you can understand their behavoiur.
Your bag A part of your sponsorship also involved choosing a bag, with a value up to 3000sek, after 18 months. In January we will send out information about this so you can decide what bag you want. We expect to start deliver your bags from March.
Visit the project We have got some interest from some of you to visit the project. We have also spoken with a travel agency who could help out with such an arrangement, perhaps combining a trip to Bangladesh with another destination. Therefore it would be good to know how many of you would be interested to visit? A potential date for the trip could be March or October 2020. Initially we just need a sense of the interest so we can come back with a suggestion of itinerary and price. So please let us know if you are interested.
PS For those of you who hasn’t received their Cow Funder Certificate, let us know. We are lacking physical adress to some of you, so please send your adress at the same time.
As always, let us know if you have any questions and/or suggestions. Sustainably Yours, Anders, Tulin and rest of the SH team.
Hi all generous Cow Funders!
Ramadan, Eid and Eid ul Ahja is (beginning of August) over and we have started to buy calves again! Ramadan means that one shall fast, abstain from food and water not to forget the hardships of the poor people! From 5 am in the morning until 9pm in the evening, no food, no water and temperature in this Ramadan in June was mostly 30+. Just imagine working on the floor producing bags in the factory, only fans in the roof moving the hot air around. At the same time checking that one´s sweat does not drop on the leather of the ready made bag. Our young and devoted staff are really heroes!
When the 30 days of fasting are over comes the Eid which is as important as our Christmas. The Eid lasts for 3 days and 7 days holiday. Almost everyone returns to their village which creates a terrible traffic situation on the roads. 40 days after the Eid comes the Eid ul Ahja and it is now many goats and cows are slaughtered to give food for everyone. Lots of food is consumed, it is important to give to others so big “parties” are held where relatives and friends meet and eat together. Nice dresses are put on like new saari, salwar kamish and other decorations.
The demand for meat and animals increases very much up to the Eid ul Ahja, therefore the price of calves rises and we postponed our purchase until after that Eid. Rana went to Tattipur to buy calves at the market on the 9th of September. Price was higher this time, we paid 23700 taka per calf with and age of 8 to 12 months. This is actually too high price for us from the 250 euro/2500sek/25.000taka, since 50 euro/500sek/5000taka shall cover the cost of running the programme, cost of the field worker (later two field workers), giving education to the caretakers + other service. Why is the price higher this time? It is difficult to know, this is something I have to ask Tulin and Rana about.
Some of the calves had defects like skin disease from a worm attack and seven of the calves could not be distributed directly instead had to be nursed extra in our “restroom stable” actually looking a bit miserable! But picking up after some time!
Tulin is now thinking to solve this economical obstacle by buying the calves at a lower age, rear them to 6 months thereby keeping down the cost of the calf, let us hope that it will work, anyhow it will create more work for the people engaged in this project! Another option is to ask for some more help from the Cow funders, but only as a last resort, first we have to see if we can manage it!
Two calves did not gain weight, one in Thanapara. The one in Bagatipara no 5 owned by Bishakha, was the little one which did not eat grass himself from the ground. Medicine was prescribed but not properly given, finally the veterinarian gave the medicine to the calf himself and now it seems to be picking up in weight, last weight was 91 kg on the date.
Why does such a thing happen? Maybe from lack of knowledge or understanding of the importance of the medicine or it might be (less likely in this case?) that the medicine was considered too expensive, perhaps sold and therefore not given to the calf. These are things which will happen in our cow funder programme, and even more so as we increase the number of calves. We have probably not encountered all which may happen yet!
Now we have totally 76 calves going on in Bagatipara, 60 more families have been surveyed and selected so the purchase and distribution of the calves will continue at a more regular pace from now on. We are thinking to make a survey/investigation of the situation of the families before entering the CFI (Cow Funder Initiative) to be able to evaluate the project after some years. We think it is very important to evaluate what is done to be able to see if our efforts really make a difference, so we are not working in the wrong direction! The best would be to get help from a University for this work, we have a good contact Mr Abul Hossain who already knows about us. We need some fund for it, thinking to apply at the Swedish embassy in Dhaka, the ambassador taking part at the inauguration of the CFI!
It may be interesting for our esteemed Cow Funders to know and understand the full scope of the CFI project and what your investment will accomplish!
Traceability is very important for the shoe and the bag producing companies, the hide/leather can be traced, the origin is known. Sustainability partly in the low tech rearing method, using very much what is available and renewable near the calf for it´s growth, partly also the creation of jobs in the surrounding society.
Lastly the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in that it will create positive effects in the area where our Cow Funder Initiative and the work of SandlundHossain is going on, adding value to the local society!
This is exactly what all the big companies (HM, Zara, Michael Kors, etc) are looking for but have great trouble to find in a genuine and truthful way with full transparency. The Sandlund/Hossain CFI project has already awoken great curiosity and interest from the Shoe and bag Manufacturers Association in Bangladesh. They want to know more about it and want to visit our project in Bagatipara.
I fully grasped only this summer, telling the story about the CFI to visitors/customers at Böle Garveri, that this donor mechanism never stops working!
The donation You have given to a family in need in Bagatipara will never stop doing it´s job!
At the end life of the cow, after 1½ years when it is slaughtered, the whole profit of the meat goes back to the family minus the purchase price, because that goes to buy a new calf to the family! After another 1½ year a new calf to the family, after another 1½ year – next calf! And so it continues!
If you think, like me, that the inflation will kill that first investment of 250euro/2.500sek after say 8-10 years, that is wrong! – the price of the meat will go up as much as the inflation!
So Your first investment will never stop working! Beat that someone if you can!
I think this gives a sort of consolation and satisfaction, knowing that the money I once gave will make a real difference!
For the survey we think it would be important to cover things like below, please feel free to give your comments! (probably select only one question per area if this shall be in the blog)
Economy of the family
How much paid work has been done the last year by the husband?
How much paid work has been done the last year by the wife?
How much paid work has been done the last year by other family members?
How much capital(money) does the family have access to at start of CFI, either cash money, bank account, or things they can sell in case of sudden need?
Health of the family
How many have had some illness in family during the last year?
How much money has been spent on medicine, recipes or doctor’s fee during the last year?
How many times have the family members visited a doctor during the last year?
Education in the family
Educational level of woman?
Educational level of husband?
Educational level of children?
How much is the cost of shool per child, per year?
Are all children in family attending school, continuing their studies?
Has there been any drop-out from school in your family, if so how?
Thoughts, plans, dreams for the future in the family
What are your hopes (plans, dreams) for the future for your family? (Can be good to see if this changes, can also include their wishes for their children in this question)
Do you think your children will be able to get a higher education (what level?)
Social interaction in society or experiences of the surrounding society (village life)
Have you been in contact with some of the local authorities?
How did you feel when contacting the authorities?
Did you get the help you wanted?
How is the relation with your neighbours?
Are your neighbours helpful?
How is your status in your near society? (village level)
Have you or your family helped someone in an important way during the last year?
This would be very essential to register for each new member family. We must still remember that such a big questionnaire is not possible to cover for our field worker only, it would have to be done by some university students or similar. I will ask around among our contacts in Bangladesh about it!