Background of the Project:
Global warming is taking place due to enormous reasons including emission of greenhouse gases causing disastrous phenomena including rise in sea-levels. Bangladesh, being a low-lying delta with much of its land merely above sea level, has always been vulnerable to environmental events including Climate change. There has been possibility of losing a significant area of its landmass due to rising in sea levels. Drought in the dry season may be more severe while rain in the wet season may be more intense. The livelihoods of millions of people living in the southwest region of the country are highly dependent on the natural resource base, and therefore are extremely vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change such as increasing salinity, water-logging and loss of biodiversity. These effects are almost alarmingly visible in south-west region, especially in the Sunderbans causing a threat to biodiversity and increased salinity in the project area. In addition, this region is prone to natural disasters such as tropical cyclones, floods, unusual high tide, and riverbank erosion.
DDJ implemented the Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change (RVCC) Project in collaboration with CARE-Bangladesh and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) during the period of March 2003 to March 2005. The prime objective was to build capacities of the Schools and Madrasas to understand, use and disseminate climate change information to anticipate and cope with the adverse effects stemming from climate change. However, during the second phase of the project UP elected bodies and community leaders were included to be sensitized on the probable impact of the climate change and thus increase their capacity to plan for actions and respond to reduce adverse effects.
- 6 UPs have been trained and sensitized to prepare their 3 years development plan in line with the recommendations to cope with the adverse effects stemming from climate change.
- 26,206 community people have been made aware of the causes and effects of climate change and its adaptation strategies.
- 9,941 secondary school students have been made aware of the causes and effects of climate change and its adaptation strategies.
- Debating competitions on the climate change were organized in 31 schools and 29 madrasas.
- 2 upazila level debating competitions were organized in Morrelgonj and Sharankhola Upazilas in participation of the students from 32 and 18 schools respectively. Since salinity is a practical problem in the project area, the subject of the competition was chosen on increased salinity.
- 50 Secondary School and Madrasa teachers of science background have been given a 2-day training to enhance their skills to impart climate change related education to the students.
- 50 climate change information corners have been set up at 31 secondary schools and 19 senior madrasas to disseminate information among the students regularly.
- DDJ organized a series of meetings, workshops, and seminars with teachers, parents, school management committee, Upazila education officers, the teachers association and with the top and senior level of official of Jessore Education Board. This movement has convinced the school education authorities to consider inclusion of climate change (CC) issues in the school curriculum.
- World Water Day 2004 and 2005 were observed on 22nd March. Rallies were brought out in participation of the students, UP Chairmen, Members and community people. Discussion sessions were organized in Morrelgonj and Sharankhola upazilas to raise public awareness on climate change issues and adaptation measures to sustain their livelihoods.
- Dramas and pot songs presenting key messages on climate change were organized to draw attention of larger audiences on the issue.
- Alternative IGAs: Due to high salinity in the area, the women’s role in agricultural activities has been significantly reduced. Poultry rearing was found to be a profitable income generating strategy for the rural women by which they can contribute to household income. DDJ has facilitated a process for strengthening the relationship between the beneficiaries and the Upazila Livestock Department to extend technical support including vaccination.
- Digging/re-excavation of derelict ponds: Local elected bodies and community leaders have been mobilized for re-excavation of derelict ponds to reserve rainwater to ensure an alternative source of sweet water for the saline area in the dry season. The annual plan has been submitted to the UNO, BWDB and LGED who will now take necessary initiative for the purpose.
- PSF Facilities: Ups, DPHE and LGED have jointly completed the activity plan to install Ponds Sand Filter (PSF) in the respective unions.
- Rain Water Collection/Harvesting: UPs, DPHE and LGED jointly have completed the activity planning to install Rain Water Harvesting tanks in the respective UPs as an alternative source of sweet water in the dry season.
Application to Hon’ble Prime Minister: The most notable achievement of the project is that on behalf of the general mass of the area, the Chairman of the Climate Change Committee of Sharankhola submitted a memorandum to the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 22 March 2005 to make potable drinking water available for the people in Sharankhola Upazila where salinity has increased to a remarkable extent causing acute crisis of potable water during dry season. The demands mentioned were as follows:
- In every village minimum 2 ponds need to be excavated to reserve rainwater.
- Derelict ponds to be re-excavated to reserve rainwater to ensure an alternative source of sweet water in the dry season.
- PSF and rain water collectors to be set up as per need and the unserviceable PSFs to be made useable.
- The silted Bhola river and canals to be re-excavated.
- Water reservoirs to be set up to reserve rainwater to ensure an alternative source of sweet water in the dry season.
Hon’ble Prime Minister is also aware of the salinity problem in south-western region due to climate change and she has kindly forwarded the Memorandum to the Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources on 15 August 2005 for necessary actions.
Duration: March 2003 to March 2005.
Area Coverage: Morrelgonj upazila of Bagerhat district.
Source of Funding: Canadian CIDA through CARE Bangladesh.
Objective of the Project:
The prime objective was to build capacities of the Schools and Madrasas to understand, use and disseminate climate change information to anticipate and cope with the adverse effects stemming from climate change.