Building collective voice and power


We believe there is strength in numbers.

Many small-scale farmers, artisans and workers in developing countries are forced to create and sell their products into the market on terms they do not control. But by forming into groups and associations and developing a collective voice, they can achieve goals that might never before have seemed possible.

By organising themselves into groups and associations, workers are far better-placed to negotiate for better wages and working conditions; to make their voices heard in decision making processes; to negotiate for equal access to social and economic resources and services; to exploit economies of scale to make savings and investments; and lobby district and national level policy-makers to better address the issues they face.

Scroll down to learn about our current projects focusing on collective working.

Strengthening smallholder associations

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Over the last decade we have worked extensively with our local partners in Bangladesh to support over 28,000 socially-excluded rural households who depend on smallholder agriculture for their livelihoods. In 2018 we launched the latest phase of this work, designed to further strengthen the established farmer-led associations.

By ensuring they are effective, well-run, and financially sustainable, the associations will be better-placed to build enduring partnerships with local government - increasing smallholder farmers’ access to services such as social security schemes, as well as their influence in policy-making and its implementation.


Smallholders Ambia Khatun and Noor Hossain collect tomatoes. Credit: Traidcraft Exchange\GMB Akash


Project name: Khamatayan - Empowering Smallholders to Strengthen Local Democratic Governance

Where are we working? Bangladesh; districts of Gaibandha, Kurigram, Mymensingh, Sherpur and Satkhira

How long for? 1st January 2018 - 30th September 2021 (3 years, 9 months)

Who is benefiting? 20,000 smallholder farmers (50% women, 10% ethnic minorities, 5% people with disabilities)

Project aims:

  • To enable smallholder farmers to collectively voice, demand and negotiate their economic and social rights by actively engaging with local authorities

  • To enable marginalised groups (women, ethnic minorities, disabled people) to access social and extension services, appropriate resources, and social safety-net programmes

Who are we working with? We are working in close cooperation with smallholder organisations and local authorities, with funding from the European Commission’s ‘Civil Society Organizations and Local Authorities Thematic Programme’.