The Rural Women Entrepreneurs project supports women to bring critical health and other digitally-supported services into their communities



Estimated reach: 60 K people

Launch date: 03/2021

Status: Implemented

Project type: women's empowerment, economy

Purpose of Project

Mobilizing and developing the capacity of 40 women’s business centres as a pandemic response

The Rural Women Entrepreneurs project utilizes digital technologies to mobilize and develop the capacity women’s business centres spread across Bangladesh, to respond to the short- and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country’s rural communities have faced unprecedented disconnect from health and livelihood services, as resources have been diverted and lockdowns have restricted movement. For vulnerable members of these communities, such as women and the elderly, the effects have been even greater and many have struggled to access preventative care or treatment, which in turn has affected long-term health, livelihoods, and wellbeing. This project reacts by closing gaps in healthcare access through teleconsultations and screening services, increasing understanding of COVID-19 prevention practices, and providing holistic wellbeing support for community partners through strengthening nutrition, WASH, and sustainable livelihood opportunities. Phase 1 of the project has reached more than 40,000 households with these services and treated over 17,000 patients; Phase 2 will increase this by a further 50%.


Local team


Sriramappa Gonchikara

Country Director United Purpose Bangladesh

Connor Steele-McCutchen

Programme and Partnership Development Manager, United Purpose Bangladesh

Mridul Chowdhury

CEO and Founder mPower Social Enterprises Ltd.

Subhagya Mangal Chakma

Senior Advisor Social Inclusion, Human Rights & Governance and Project Coordinator mHealth-GIZ Project United Purpose Bangladesh

Mohammad Abu Sufian Khan

Country Finance Manager United Purpose Bangladesh

Shamim Hossain

Head, Food Security & Livelihood, United Purpose Bangladesh

Zaki Haider

Director of Innovation mPower Social Enterprises Ltd.

Thanks to our efforts, the poor in our rural community are finally able to see real trained doctors. Women and older patients suffering with disease and chronic illness are coming for the WBC’s ClickHealth Services for healthcare teleconsultations provided by the specialized doctors – even physicians from Dhaka – which is completely new.

Laximi Mandal

Bangladesh, Chayghoria WBC leader

Smart Facts

Facts about Rural Women Entrepreneurs

In phase 1, a teleconsultation platform, COVID screening and malnutrition detection apps, and other digital solutions were developed and deployed at 40 women’s business centers (WBCs).

The initial phase of the project has already reached more than
40,000 individuals
with its services and treated over
17,000 patients.

The production and provision of affordable masks through WBCs has been identified by government stakeholders as a significant benefit.

80 women health entrepreneurs have been trained to administer ClickHealth teleconsultations as well as to use related medical and non-medical equipment.

The communication network spans more than 200 women entrepreneurs and has supported the formation of 3 district-level WBC enterprise networks.

Increased awareness around COVID-19 prevention, nutrition and hygiene were created thanks to WBC interpretation and translation of awareness messages in local dialects.