People Led Adaptation and Mitigation Program Facilitation Process of BARCIK

It has been reiterated that Bangladesh is one of the vulnerable countries of climate change due to its geographical location and population size. This change somehow put a major loss in economic sector of Bangladesh. Climate induced disasters such as cyclones, flood, drought, cold wave hit the country damaging crops and infrastructures. The damage is affecting most the poor people due to their dependency on natural resources for their livelihood. On the other hand, high density of population that leads people living in risk natural habitat is also responsible for climate induced major loss and damage. Thus when disasters occur, it is these people who suffer first although they are not much responsible for this change in the climate. Actually it is the industrial countries of the world which are responsible for the rapid change in the climate. But it is really injustice to the poor people as they become the only victims of the consequences of luxury lifestyle of the rich people in the rich country. However, in order to get survived and uphold their existence the people of the poor country like Bangladesh still develop coping strategies using their thousands years of inherent experiences from their ancestors. These coping strategies and means are the only weapons for them to get survived and earn their bred in the present midst of climate change scenario.

Nonetheless, Bangladesh, to the people of the world, is known as natural disaster prone country. These natural disasters have increased many folds this time due to the climate change! Thus for earning a living, the grassroots people have either to fight or cope with these natural occurrences though they are less responsible for the change. They invented their own adaptive tools to cope with those change since the time immemorial! It is to mention that Bangladeshi people do not only suffer from the negative consequences of climate change but also they are sufferers of development disasters. Reviewing the development history of Bangladesh, it has been found that some mega projects failed due to the opinions and experiences of the grassroots people for whom the projects were designed have been excluded. It is really ironic that the failures of these projects have to be endured by those poor people alone! In the 60s for instance, coastal prevention dams were created to increase crop production but these was resulted in water logged situation in the coastal area. And shrimp farming was introduced in the area allowing saline water intrusion to solve the water logging which never benefited the people but intensified the previous problems to some extent! Today most of the people in Satkhira blamed unplanned shrimp farming for less of crop production in the field as crops fields have been replaced by shrimp cultivation and salinity problems get intensified. It was not only that shrimp farming swallowed almost all agro lands of the area accelerating the extinction of traditional agriculture but also displaced farmers from agriculture.

On the other hand, commercial aggressive tree plantation was introduced in the name of social forestation in the working area. Today these trees as well as the initiatives have turned disaster for the people and it became responsible for environmental deterioration. The same was seen in the North Zone of Bangladesh where in the name of Barendra Unnayan Project, underground water was pulled to increase crop production making barren lands cultivable for the farmers. But after 20-25 years, the people realized that this initiative did not ensure sustainable way of crop production but the initiative became disaster closing all windows of development. Due to the intensive way of pulling underground water for crop production people today find difficulty to get water for crop and household as the water table of the area has gone more downward this time. Farmers today could not extract water from the ground using deep tube-wells that resulted in less crop production and hazardous water crisis for household use. These projects though initially brought positive changes enabling farmers farming crops, supplying water for irrigation but in the long run, these projects turned as disaster for the people and area. The core reasons for the failure of these mega projects were the exclusion of local people’s knowledge, &experience, lack of environmental and ecological assessment as well as sidelining the culture and tradition of the local people during formulation of projects and planning. Thus it is now evident that in order to ensure sustainability of the development projects, the natural resources, knowledge, experience, skills and vision of the local communities need to be considered. The relationship of these people with each other and the nature also need to be reviewed while designing any development projects. It has been observed that the project designers and policymakers tend to blame climate change for the failure of these mega projects. It is true that Bangladeshi people face ranges of disasters every year and climate change has a strong link to these disasters but unplanned development initiatives are also not less responsible for making disasters in the life of those people.

BARCIK through its People led Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation project tries to facilitate people adapting with the climate induced changes using their own adaptive techniques, knowledge, skills. BARCIK also has been playing facilitative roles to disseminate and share the rich and effective adaptive techniques, knowledge and skills of people to others so that they could replicate the learning through this project. In doing so, BARCIK has been trying to make linkage between the grassroots people and that of government initiatives which have been implemented in the perspective areas. BARCIK has been doing this to ensure that these people’s knowledge, experience and skills are being considered in planning and coordination of those projects. The development initiatives that BARCIK has been implementing over the years have accommodated the knowledge and effective participation of the grassroots people and they have been placed in the centre of these initiatives which brought positive result in the perspective of BARCIK. However, in order to get the implication of placing the local people as key characters of any project, one has to perceive that social and cultural flourish is needed and coordination of social and cultural organization is a must. These social and cultural organizations arrange and organization various events and program that enhance mutual relationship among the communities. This process could be called as People led development initiatives! It is the people led development approach where the development organization only facilitates communities to implement the development activities to make a real difference in their life.

Thus in this project, BARCIK has tried to assess the problems that these people face in their day to day life. BARCIK however, in the coastal area found that water logging and salinity are the hindrances for crop production and progress while in the Char area patterns of land as well as riverbank erosion are the main problems and in the drought prone are water scarcity is the big problem. In addition, in wetland and flood plain areas climate induced disasters are also main problems that responsible for declined crop production. However, people in coastal areas to ease their problem planted local trees, re-excavate canals, conserve biodiversity (uncultivated food plants) and farmed and conserve diverse vegetable and seeds. The people in drought prone areas conserve seeds of different types of crops that suit the climate of the areas, exchange resources (seeds, knowledge, materials, idea, experience) with each other, prepare eco-friendly fertilizers and developed integrated plans to fight with adversity. The people in wetlands and flood plain areas conducted campaign activities against the unplanned infrastructure construction that is responsible for their sufferings due to climate change, they also practice sustainable agriculture, conserve seeds and uncultivated plants, farmed diverse crops using indigenous knowledge and some other activities which are supportive to ease the climate related problems. BARCIK having intensive communication and physical attachment with those people in the working areas documented their adaptive initiatives to cope with those changes and BARCIK shared the good practices of one area with the people of other areas so that they could replicate the learning to address their problems. In doing so, BARCIK facilitated social, cultural organizations, eager and different stakes of people, youth groups, journalists, students-teachers, local government bodies and community people in addressing climate change in different working areas. During the reporting period, 26 local organizations (different occupational) in four working areas identified 185 types of problems and to address the problems they took 434 initiatives which enabled them to solve 52% of the problems with the facilitative roles of BARCIK. About 11,396 households directly benefited from the initiatives. If measure the technical contribution of BARCIK (Financial support of the project activities) it is counted to 33.62%. But people treating the activities as their own have addressed more problems to ease the climate crisis of their area which sometimes do not require financial assistance from BARCIK but the facilitative role only. Strengthening the social and cultural organizations, BARCIK found that these organizations played lead role to address, share and replicate the adaptive tools to ease the problems. BARCIK documented the coping initiatives and efforts of the community and tried to make those efforts and initiative more effective in coping with climate changes.

This report has been prepared based on the very change that was observed during the project period in different working areas. Besides, in the report, facilitation initiatives of BARCIK in different issues and subjects have been accommodated to explore the change and initiative taken under the project. The positive and negative changes have been brought in the report in the form of analytical view of every implemented activities, while the role of media to mainstreaming and disseminating the adaptive techniques, knowledge and experience of grassroots people has briefly been discussed in the report. Climate change is an environmental issue and BARCIK has emphasized on creating awareness among the students and youth including other ages of people regarding the negative impacts of climate change and cause of climate change through the project. BARCIK tried to motivated the youth playing effective role to ease not the climate change related problems but also other social problems. BARCIK believes if the youth takes initiative to address the problem they will be able to realize their role in the society and this ultimately will lead them grow as active citizens.Below are some case studies or indicators that suggested about how the objectives of the project have been met.

Thousands of local trees planted in Manikgonj, Netrakona, Barguna and Satkhira

The series of activities that BARCIK implemented with the intensive participation and ownership of the youth community have enabled the young generation to perceive their role not only in addressing climate crisis but also other social issues. The coastal students’ solidarity team in a meeting expressed their willingness to plant palm trees in uncultivated fallow lands of their school, homes and roadside. This realization emerged among them as they know that palm is an environment friendly tree for the coastal areas as this tree protects them from the disasters. Thus being inspired by BARCIK, 100 students took part in the plantation of palm seedlings in Dr. Syeda Firoza girl’s high school in Pathorghata, Barguna. The students planted 3000 palm trees in the fallow lands of the school. The headteacher of the school named Moniruzzaman Ripon, assistant teacher Rina Akter, president of the student’s solidarity team Md. Jubaer Hossein, BARCIK staff Rafiqul Islam Rafiq and others were present during the plantation and encouraged the students and youths to continue doing this sort of activity that benefits humans and the environment. The students of the school enjoyed themselves as it was the first time for them to have such an opportunity to do social works that could benefit the environment and the society as well. Thus one of the students of the school named Jui said, “I learned that palm tree plays an important role to make the environment balance. Today being part of the plantation I found happiness inside me. I really feel proud of being part of the initiative.” She went on saying, “We should make campaign from our own to motivate and persuade others planting this tree in each of their fallow lands so that we could save the environment and ourselves. I thank BARCIK for providing its helping hands to make the plantation a successful one.”

During the reporting period, it has been found that students, youth groups, teachers and community people took initiative to plant different types of environment friendly trees in their perspective areas. The youth volunteers in Horrirampur Manikgonj have taken initiative to plant date trees in char lands. The objective to plant date trees near the bank of river, roadside, school premise was to strengthen the protection wall so that riverbank erosion, homestead and other human habitat could be protected from disaster like flood. Thus with the participation of youths of the area the members of youth volunteers team planted dates trees from Patchar village to Norinath village of the Horrirampur sub-district covering the distance of 2 (two) kilometers. There is other reason of planting dates trees in the area. According to the statement of the youths, date tree is almost to disappear from the area. In the past there were many date trees in the area leading people to use its juice for making sweet, cakes and some other food. Besides, the branches of the tree serve as fuel and raw material of making mat for the people in the char area. Seeing the initiative of the youth UP member of Baira union Nurul Islam said, “Date is a traditional local tree in the char area but people have forgot about the importance of the tree. You have done a great job planting the date trees. I thank BARCIK for inspiring the youth as well as for educating them about the climate issue. I think including environmental issue the youth could participate in social initiative as well.” So far more than hundred types of fruit, medicinal and other local varieties of trees have been planted in different working areas. BARCIK, interested individuals, community provided seedlings or seed for tree plantation as part of encouraging them but today BARCIK does not need to do that. The community people themselves collect, buy seedlings and plant accordingly as part of their environment friendly initiative. Farmers, youth community and students planted Lemon, Jackfruit, Olive, Neem, Garan, cholta, Arjun, Hartoki, Babla, local Koroi trees in their perspective areas being briefed about the importance of those trees in combating climate change. The members of youth volunteers and student solidarity team in each of the working areas have actively facilitated the tree plantation activity being educated and motivated by BARCIK regarding the role of the local and fruit trees. In regard to tree plantation farmer Akter hossein said, “I really enjoyed planting trees today as not only I am but people of classes started to do this. The youth community has shown us the way to preserve our resources.” He went on saying, “BARCIK through its initiative has organized us all. We are organized and feel that whatever BARCIK intend to do is our own work. We realize that BARCIK will only show us the way or start the initiative but we have to carry it for long. I have never seen such organization in my life that respects us and supports our thought.” The effort made by the youth groups, farmers, students and community people to start area specific forestation in Satkhira has inspired most of the people. People of different occupation and age being inspired have taken initiative planting some local and fruit trees in the district. Thus palm, dates, Koroi, Poshur, Kewra and other environment friendly trees today have witnessed and given the result of the sincere and hard work of the coastal people. The tree plantation initiative has taken place in roadsides, school premises, river and canal bank, fallow lands and dams. People now do not want to leave an inch of their lands fallow. So far, tree plantation has covered about more than 20 kilometer of distance in the working areas. This initiative could be claimed one of the major achievements of the project in the working areas.

Youth leadership and Social cohesion increased in the working areas

It is said that the new generation will guide the nation and country in near future if they are properly guided. They have the capability to initiate positive changes in the society and state using their innovation, creativity and will. BARCIK through the project has been motivating the youth to act accordingly to address climate and social problems. In order to motivate and make them skilled BARCIK arranged ranges of activities such as lecture series on climate change, environment, training and workshop to sharpen their knowledge, exposure visit to let them gain knowledge on onsite fields etc. Besides, by doing so BARCIK has linked them with farmers, fishermen and other occupational groups and organizations. BARCIK also accommodated space for them to have interaction with academicians so that they could gain insight on environment, eco-system and climate change. The youth also have had the scope to visit different places to learn the practical experience of farmers and other occupational groups regarding coping with climate change scenario. BARCIK then tried to mobilize and motivate them taking initiative to combat the change by encouraging community people adopting environment friendly life and livelihood and abandoning huge carbon emitted food production system. BARCIK believes if the youth groups are aware about the change and understand the cause of the change as well as know the means to cope or in some cases to combat the change then they will become as real actors to work for climate change adaptation and mitigation process that will ultimately benefit the humankinds. If the youth is facilitated properly they will become active social change agents as well. From this backdrop, BARCIK along motivating the youth becoming responsible towards their society and state does try to develop their capacity to fight with climate change being armed with deep knowledge on climate change and adaptation strategies and techniques. Throughout the project period the youth communities have taken substantial initiative to address climate crisis and social problems. In each of the activity either it climate issue or social issue the youth communities work in an integral manner being partnered with farmers, women, fisher, teachers, journalists, civil society members. In tree plantation all stakes of people took part in each of the working areas. When the youth community organized human chain, rallies, press conference and other forms of activities demanding the solution of social problems such as drug addiction, early marriage, drop out in education, it is the community people comprises of farmers, women, students, civil society members, teachers and others who expressed solidarity with the demand of the youth and treated the activities as their own.

In Netrakona, when the youth demanded to repair the road of village through organizing a human chain people of different ages, classes and occupation jointed with them. In the same time in Manikgonj youth communities in order to stop the stealing of cattle during the night demanded force to patrol during night from the local administration and community people supported them and allied with them in the issue leading the administration to fulfill their demand. Today the incident of cattle missing is not seen in the area. In the meantime, when the youth communities in Gaibandha took initiative to help people finding shelter and removing their belongings during the flood community people extended their helping hands towards them and appreciated their initiative. Thus when the youth group comprises Md. Rashed, Md. Milan, Md. Iyaqub, Md Sakhawat and 8 others from the Kalasona char during the flood in last August in Gaibandha helped the former UP member Md. Abul Hossein to protect his family members and shifted his belongings to safe place it was the community people who supported them and encouraged them to act accordingly. The youth group after the flood distributed medicines and food to the flood affected people and it was the community people who helped them to get the medicines and food. This thing happened in the working area due to the increased social cohesion and mutual relationship among the people of all stakes. Thus from the project perspective it may seem that those activities are not in the project proposal but reviewing the roots and reason of their unity and developed mentality to work in an integral manner, it has been found that it was the concept of the project that united those groups of people leading them to do things beyond what the project demanded but essential for progress and sustainable change in the society and state. The main platform of progress in the society is the combination of the experience, skills and knowledge of the elders and that of new generation’s eagerness and strength. The project has initiated inter age-dialogue where the new generation and aged people come in between the common platform to share their knowledge, experience and skills with each other. It has been a bridge between the aged and new generation which resulted in mutual understanding. The new generation respects the aged people and in the same time the aged people encourage the new generation to become active citizens. Youth community in Satkhira played vital role to combat climate crisis The initiative of the youth to re-introduce green in Satkhira has attracted the attention all. This initiative of the youth has been implemented jointly by the youth groups, farmers, students and community people which somehow to bring positive change and re-introduce green shape in the area that was damaged by cyclones Aila and Sidr in 2007 and 2009 respectively. In order to support the activities the youth groups including farmers and other occupational groups in the area planted palm and dates trees that are suitable for the area. Last year, they planted about 5000 dates and palm trees and this year, the youth, farmers and community people planted other 2000 trees to continue their effort for protecting environment.

Besides, different types of environment friendly trees were planted in roadside, riverbank, dams, education and religious building premises and homestead in Shymanagar of Satkhira district with the facilitation of BARCIK and direct participation of community people. The initiative taken by the youth to protect environment has been acknowledged by the high official of the government. The joint secretary of disaster and relief management ministry of Bangladesh government Mr. Mizanur Rahman in an event appreciated the initiative taken by the youth and thanked BARCIK for involving the youth actively in such activities. He said, “We all more or less think about environment but when time comes to get in action we present many excuses to get themselves out of the action. The initiative of the youth in this coastal area has really surprised me. I believe, it is the youth community who can persuade different people to act actively for preserving the environment and combat climate change.” He went on saying, “I believe, this youth in this area will also get themselves involved in other social issues to accelerate the solution of social problems along with this environmental issue. The initiative and active involvement of the youth to address climate change related problems in the coastal area is really appreciable.” The joint secretary said this in “Climate Camp” event arranged by BARCIK in the Shymanagar Satkhira. The acting Upaziall Nirbahi official Momotaz Begum in the welcome speech said, “Youth is power. I would like to extend my heartiest thanks to BARCIK for organizing and educating the youth to act in such a crucial issue. I would like to see them also addressing social problems such as drug addiction, early marriage, dowry, women violence. If they use their innovation, strength and zeal to address these problems along with climate and environmental issue, we surely will see progress in the society.” President of Press club Akbor Ali, agriculture official Ali Hossein and forest department official Mizanur Rahman delivered speech in the event and appreciated the initiative of the youth. The chief guest of the event then planted a palm tree seedling as symbol of his solidarity to the initiative of the youth to protect the environment. One of the members of coastal solidarity team then presented the activities that the student’s solidarity team has been implementing throughout the year. Among the activities they implemented include: Cleaning the pond sand filter, giving warm reception to the member of the parliament, distributing clothes among the poor, anti-drug campaign, blood donation, planting palm trees in the bank of the rivers, giving warm reception to the farmers who have been awarded agriculture medal by Chanel-I, helping the students, organizing meetings etc. All these activities have been implemented by the youth voluntarily where BARCIK played the facilitative role only. Thus the youth in Satkhira today have been able to realize their role in the society and state leading them not only to address climate change related problems but also social problems.

Rabindra nath, the name of successful coastal forestation

Rabindra Nath is a color carpenter. But how comes he is treated as one of the successful initiators of the coastal forestation? The story below will tell us the story behind of his success. Rabindra Nath lives in Borokupat village under Shymanagar, Satkhira. He is a nature love. He has been conserving and planting diverse trees and fruit tree in his own lands since his boyhood. His carving and love for nature and plantation has led him to contribute in Khelpotua River forestation of the area. He has played significant role in initiating forestation from the Atulia union till Burigualini union of Shymanagar. The distance between the two unions is 12 kilometer. However, this forestation was conducted by the government particularly by the Upazilla social forestation unit. The initiative started in 2010 where people of all classes participated in the forestation being inspired by the government. Thus people planted palm, dates, Korai, Kewra, Bain, Gulpata, Kakra, Poshur and some other coastal friendly tree seedlings during that time. A committee was formed to take care and nourish the new seedlings. However, due to having experience in tree plantation and conservation as well as to being a nature lover, Rabindra Nath was selected as the vice-president of the committee. With the small honorarium he gets from the government to take care of the new planted seedlings, Rabindra Nath every day went to spot and take care of the plants. He plants new seedlings, weed the grass, water the new plants and cut off the unnecessary branches of the new plants every day. Thus today a big forest covered with different types of trees is seen between Atulia and Burugowalini Unions of Shymanagar. In order to save the plants and motivate people to not damage tree seedlings, every day he involved himself to walk from one village to others with a mike in hand. Thus with his sincere effort today people of the area have been able to see fruit of the initiative. He said, “The new created forest will enable us to resist riverbank erosion and provide us fuel. This forest will work as protection wall during disasters and serve safe harbor for the birds.” He went on saying, “Planting tree is an easy work but nourishing and taking care of the plant is very difficult.” Forest department official Mr. Mizanur Rahman said, “Rabindra Nath is a success name in the area. He has been making sincere effort ignoring sunshine and rain to care and nourish the seedling planted in the name of social forestation in the area. It is because of his sincerity, hard work and love that enabled him to protect each of the seedlings of the forestation.” BARCIK learning about the love and caring attitude of the Rabindra Nath about nature and tree plantation rewarded him with some assistance as token of recognition of his work as well as to encourage him conserving environment by planting trees & motivate others to do the same.

Badaban Somvar an initiative that removes the indigence of Bonojobi (Forest resource collectors)

The sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world occupied 4.2 portions of total area of Bangladesh and 44 portion of forest area. The Sundarbans were inscribed by UNESCO as world heritage in 21 May 1997 and were declared as first Ramsar site of Bangladesh in 21 May 1992. The sundarbans is very rich in floral diversity. However, taking along with these diversities, the Bawali, Mawali, fishermen, indigenous community have been building a historical sustainable forest resources dependent livelihood pattern in the Sunderbans for a long time. The honey of the Sunderban is a unique geographical indicator. Some of the dwellers namely Mawali traditionally depends on the honey and wax which are collected from this world’s largest mangrove forest for their lives and livelihood patterns. Mainly honey collection starts from the Bengali month Baishakh (May) and during this season, every forest dependent community collects a single pass for honey collection and BLC (Boat License Certificate) pass for a boat to enter into the Sunderbans by a group consisting of 7/9 members from the local office of the administration. For becoming eligible to get pass and BLC pass, the forest dependent community has to collect a certificate from the Chairman of Union Parised that certifies their identity and character and submits it to the forest department. Recently the community submits the photocopy of their national ID cards along other supporting documents. Generally, BLC pass is provided to the owner of boat or chief of the group who is locally called Sajuni. Each of the group collects honey from the Sunderbans in a specific time and specific parts of forest under the local administration. After collection, the honey is submitted to the Mahajan (money lenders), local open market or sold in cheap price. According to the forest dependent people, a bee goes to and circumambulates 80 kinds of flowers to collect just a single drop of honey. The local people identify bee as migratory animal. They come to the Sunderbans in the month of Magh (January-February), spend their honey cycle life there and leave it in the month of Asar (June-July). People who collect honey and other resources from the Sunderbans sometimes get killed by the tigers. Thus many women among the community lost their husbands being killed by tigers when they go to the Sunderbans for earning livelihood. These women are called ‘Tiger Widows’ by the community people and become the most helpless and marginal people from both of economic and social perspectives. On the other hand, the honey collectors being poor people have to depend on money lenders for cash to buy boats and other required materials for collecting honey from the Sunderbans.

Thus when they return to the Sunderbans, they have to submit the collected honey to the money lenders. From this perspective, these people never get the fair price of the honey leading them to lead hardship life. However, BARCIK from this project provided minimum resources to these people so that they could continue their works properly and become sufficient economically. BARCIK provided them 22 boats, tailoring machines to the tiger widows and tried to organize them. The objective of providing these materials to them was to enable them maximizing the use of the resource for improving their economic status, get united socially and untie their loans taken from the money lenders. Having the assistance and materials from BARCIK the Mawalies organized different groups to collect honey from the Sunderbans. During the off season of honey collection, they used the boats for other purpose to enable them earning. The tiger widows use the tailor machines to make dress for earning money. Besides, both men and women from the Mawalies were provided training both in national and international levels on preparing pickles, candle, soaps and other goods from the materials they collect from the Sunderbans. They also formed an organization of their own and got linked with other occupational organizations in the area being supported and facilitated by BARCIK. Thus within the marches of time these people today are well organized. The Badaban Samvar is the output and result of their hard work being supported and facilitated by BARCIK.

Bandaban Samvar is an initiative to market the products made by the Mawalies using the materials they collected from the sunderbans in a sustainable way. There are honey, candles, soaps, pickles, gels and some other products in this Badaban Samvar. The Mawalies or Bonojibi, through this, market their products and get fair price of them that lead them to be economically sufficient in comparison to the past. In addition, for broader circulation and increased sale of the products BARCIK, Shaha Alom Mural and other Bonojibi took initiative to publicize the products. It was through meetings, seminars and other forms of public communication, the people tried to build a network with people of different stakes and occupations to make the product popular. The initiative of publicizing the products has benefited them as people from different areas came to buy the products and BARCIK also circulated the products in its different working areas including Dhaka. Today there is hardly any Mawalies who lends money from the money lenders for collecting honey and other resources. Most of them have repaid the loans and independently sell the products in the markets. The tiger widows who have been neglected and blamed for the death of their husbands now are respected in the society and economically sufficient making the proper use of their tailoring machines. Besides, there is Bonojibi organization in the area and through this organization the Mawalies are getting united to fight for their rights. With the facilitation of BARCIK presently they have been able to get BLC pass from the forest department without paying any additional money. In the past, for the BLC pass, the Mawalies have to pay additional money and due to being poor they seldom get the pass. Thus fake forest resources collectors bribing the forest department officials collected the pass and destroy the resources of the Sunderbans due to not knowing to collect the resources in sustainable way like the real Mawalies do.

The emergence of Saha Alam Mural as social leader

Shaha Alam Murol of Datinakhali village of Shymanagar Upazilla under Satkhira district was a well-known figure among the Bonjibi community and others due to his contribution and sincere effort to establish the right of Non-timber forest products collectors. Mr. Alam in close touch of BARCIK made remarkable contribution and assistance to implement the activities that BARCIK designed for facilitating the non-timber forest resource collectors establishing their rights, coping with climate change scenario and improving their socio-economic status. It was his huge contribution that led the Bonjibi community to free themselves from the subtle torture and mental assault of the Mahajan (Money lenders). He played the lead role to empower the community and improve their economic status making sincere effort to ensure a friendly environment to market the collected products of the Bonojibis. In addition, for broader circulation and increased sale of the product, along BARCIK, Mr. Alam took initiative to create publicize the products and through meetings, seminars and other forms of public communication, he tried to build a network with people of different stakes and occupations. Being armed with knowledge and experience to manage things, he assisted the community forming organizations and groups through which those communities become organized and got the courage to fight for their rights. Mr. Alam facilitated people and students in school and college regarding the sustainable resources collection from the forest and sustainable management of resources. It was through his intervention that the women got the platform to collect, prepare and market their goods independently leading the emergence of strong women organizations in the area. He was a very popular and respected person among the community others which reflected during his death. Thousands of people of different ages, classes and occupation came to the funeral ceremony and paid their tribute towards him. Being organized the Mawalies are now aware of their rights. They have the belief that if they are educated and united they will be able to solve any problem related to their economic, social and cultural issues. Thus today, they try to send their kids for education and they are aware of their health and adopt sanitation. On the other hand, the forest department also today has been able to identify the real Mawalies and provided BLC pass to them. This has brought a positive impact on the Sunderbans as the Mawalies never destroy forest.

They collect resources in the Sunderbans in sustainable way. Due to their sustainable way of resources extraction and less access of fake Mawalies to the Sunderbans in one hand, pressure on Sunderbans has decreased and on the other hand, corruption in providing BLC pass has reduced to some extent. Thus being aware about environment the Mawalies have been contributing to ease pressure on the Sunderbans which could be said as one of the adaptive initiative taken by them to cope with the change. Protecting the Sunderbans means enhancing protection to natural disasters occurred due to climate change. In addition, the families of the Mawalies today farmed diverse vegetable and crops and conserve the seeds of different plants so that they could plant in the fallow and homestead lands being facilitated by BARCIK. Social, health and right based awareness has also contributed to develop the mutual relationship among them having close and intensive interaction with people of other occupation through the project. Thus the tiger widows are now seldom blamed for death of their husbands being killed by tiger and they are not detached from the society rather sympathy and empathy towards them have increased among the community people. This case has shown to others how the subject related project (Climate change) contributed to ease and address the overall problems of community people.

More lands cultivated, more crops produced in Barguna

BARCIK under this project took initiative to involve people of all stakes, particularly the youth community to address climate change either by strengthening adaptive capacity or initiative to reduced loss. In the first year of the project, BARCIK arranged ranges of activities such as series lecture series, training, workshop and exposure visits, drawing, bulletin publication, essay competition and debates in different working areas with the objective to educate them about environment, to create awareness about the loss in climate change, to enrich the knowledge level of the them about cause of climate changes and about the means of risks reduction. BARCIK believes that if the people are aware about their role to ensure environmental sustainability they might play vital role to address the problems. Thus these people having gained knowledge and being able to perceive the cause of climate change and their loss because of the change have addressed several problems. Dakatia canal was re-excavated during the early of April and May by the BADC (Bangladesh Agriculture development corporation). Madartoli farmer’s organization and student’s solidarity team made sincere effort to convince the government and local administration regarding the importance to re-excavate the Dakatia Canal with the facilitation of BARCIK. With the series of activities being implemented by those farmers and youth community at last BADC was convinced and started the re-excavation during April and May, 2014. The institution re-excavated the 2 km long Dakatia Canal and the canal was opened on 14 May, 2014 for the public. There is water in the canal now.

Today farmers have been able to farm crops in almost 135 acres of lands where about 2000 farmers directly benefited. There is happiness among the farmers, youth and other people of different occupation as the excavation canal does not only allow farmers farming crops in those 1355 acres of lands but also solves the water logged situation that creates many other problems. Farmers now farm vegetable such as cucumber, beans, kidney beans, brinjal, gourd, pulse and other spinaches in both sides of the canal. They have dream of earning well to support their family and remove their hardship. Thus Farmer Nantu said, “I hope I will be able to earn BDT 2,00000 selling the vegetable.” The re-excavation of the canal has not only solved water problems but also opened a space for farmers to produce various crops and serve the community people. People of other occupation also benefited because they get diverse vegetable in the market that meet their nutritional demand. The Mothertoli famer’s organization and youth solidarity team in the area have proved that if people stick to their decision to solve their own problem some day they will be successful. Thus seeing the success of the farmer’s organization to create the attention of BADC that resulted in the re-excavation of the Dakatia Canal Gulbunia farmer’s organization in Pathorghata have submitted application to the local MP (Member of Parliament) regarding the reconstruction of the two sluice gates. The farmer’s organization believes that if the two sluice gates are reconstructed they would be able to solve their agriculture related problems associated with water management. The farmers of the area also have planned to contact and submit application to the Water Development Board located in Barisal and Barguna to get their problem solved.

However, this has been proved that one good initiative could pave way for more good initiative. The result and good impact of the excavation of Dakatia canal Kabutar khali farmers’ organization and BADC jointly has planned to take the initiative to re-excavate the three (3) kilometers canal of Tikikata village in Mathbaria upzila in Pirojpur district recently. The thing that Mothertoli farmers’ organization involving youth has attracted the attention of many farmers’ organizations in the area and this has been possible for them due to the facilitative role played by BARCIK. It is to be mentioned that BARCIK working in the area since 2008 and facilitated farmers and community people to revive their local and traditional water management (BER) system and the re-excavation of Dakatia canal will contribute to ease the water problem of the community.

Preserving food to consume during disaster in Gaibandha

The people of Bangladesh are not much responsible for the rapid change in climate that brings many disasters now a day. Therefore, they do not have the capacity to mitigate the change as mitigation is a lengthy process. But they have to live and uphold their assistance. Thus to cope with the change they have invented some adaptive tools and preserving food for using during the disasters is one of the adaptive tools of the community in the Char area, Gaibandha district. The women in the char area of Gaibandha have been preserving food to consume during the disaster from a long time. These women produce diverse crops in using their knowledge and skills. But sometimes due to living in the disaster prone area mainly char they many time faces flood that was away their lands and belongings. Besides, they also displaced from their homestead when riverbank erosion cause due to the flood. Thus during this disaster, to get reserve food for consuming, they preserved food from their produces. Sweet gourd is one of the popular foods in the char area and women produce this vegetable huge. Since this food gets rotten while time marches on that is why these women dried the flesh of the vegetable in the sun alike they dry fishes for future consumption. They have their own way of preserving this vegetable. During the month of Baishaik-Jaistha, they collect the vegetable from the lands and cut into piece. After that the put the pieces into water for 10-15 minutes and then place the pieces into utensils that have crack to allow the water to get dried. After 20-25 minutes they then take the pieces and dry them in the sun for 6 to seven days. When these pieces get dried they conserve them in the bottle or other pots for future use. However, during the flood and other natural disasters availability of foods is rare and the price of all available food becomes high during that times. Thus being unable to afford buying these foods in the market poor people suffer a lot during these disasters. Thus people who conserve the dried sweet gourd before the disasters consume the food during the disaster to survive.

Most of the chap people conserve food for disasters as these are very common for them and last couple of years the frequency and intensity of the natural disaster is very high. The people in the Char area do not only conserve dry sweet gourd flesh for consumption but also the uncultivated food plants like the natural arum that grows naturally near their homestead and fallow lands. They also dry the roots of the plant for future consumption particularly during the time of disasters. The women grind the stem of the plants after collection and the grinded elements are made into pieces to dry them in the sun. Thus after drying for 6 or 7 days they collect them and place them in bottle or other pots for using in the future. BARCIK documented the initiative and shared with the people of other working areas. Thus the practice of the char people to preserve food for consuming during the disaster has encouraged the people of other working areas to store food so that they could consume during the disasters.

Seed availability and diverse crops farmed in working areas

Due to the frequent change in land pattern in the char area farmers found difficulty to farm crops particularly after the disasters. Some of their lands get deposited with sands while in some cases the lands get filled with sticky mud leading them to be unable to farm the crops that they did in previous years. Hence, availability of different seeds that suits different characteristic of soil is the major issue here. From this backdrop, the farmers in Kalasonarchar with the support from BARCIK take initiative to establish community seed bank for conserving the local crop varieties that suit the local climate and soil. The establishment of seed bank also aims to meet the seed demand of farmers during farming season. Farmers chose the high place to establish seed banksso that they could protect the seeds during flood in the area. It is to be mentioned that farmer named Abu Shafi provided lands while other farmers help with various materials for making a house for seed bank. Farmers have collected seeds from different sources and areas to conserve in the seed bank and they use the different types of seeds based on the characteristics of the soil of their land. So far, numbers of famers collected seeds from the seed banks and farmed the seeds in their lands to cope with the changing pattern of the soil of their lands. Farmer Abu Shafi said, “This seed bank played important role for seed exchange as well as for solving the agriculture related problems of the farmers in the area. The mutual understanding among the farmers in the area have increased due to the culture of seed exchange among them. Thousands of farmers have been benefited from the seed bank.

The farmers today have been able to farm diverse crop such as nut, watermelon, different types of leafy vegetable and spinaches, spices, turmeric, onions, gurlic and some other vegetable collecting seeds from the seedbanks. In the past when disasters occured farmers found difficulty to get their lands cultivated and farmed with crops due to the lack of seeds and due to the changing land pattern and characteristic of soil. But since seeds of different crops that grow in different characteristics of soil are available that is why farmers today have been able to make the maximum use of their lands. During the reporting period 13 farmers from the Kalasona char in Gaibandha cultivated different types of spices in their lands collecting seeds from the seedbank. According to them these sorts of spices were cultivated in the area in the past but the advent of hybrid varities and the tendency of farming hybrid varieties have contributed in the extinction of these spices in the area. In addition, including spices some of the local varieties of vegetable and crops also have disappeared in the area due to the farmers being lured to farm hybrid varieties of crops. However, the farmers today have realized that local varieties of crops are adaptable to the local climate. The soil and climate of the area is quite different to other areas of Bangladesh and crops of other area might not produce good yield due to this difference. On the other hand, farmers produced various crops which in the long run could not benefit them but cause huge loss. This also lead to the disappearance of local char crops. The scarcity of seeds during the crisis moment has also made farmer anxious.

In the same time farmers have taken initiative to farm diverse vegetable and spinaches in fallow lands in Manikgonj. Farmer exchanged seed, knowledge, experience and different agriculture materails to each other with the objective to make the best use of their lands. With the technical support from BARCIK they visited the house and farm of successful farmers for getting more experience and technical skill for farming crops. Thus during the reporting period 16 women farmers from Manikgonj visited the house of Hazera Begum located in Boyra village to gained knowledge regarding how she farm different types of vegetables in her fallow lands which have different charateristics of the soils. The visiting women learned from her that if they wish they could make proper use of their fallow lands which are not cultivated due to the located sunny place. According to the Hazera Begum, ginger, turmeric, wild potato could be cultivated in those lands. She said, “I have been farming these crops for a long time and had good yield every year. I use organic manure such as cow dung in those lands to make them fertile.“ However, 16 women farmers collected the seeds of different wild potatoes for her to farm in their fallow lands.

Integrated plans to combat disaster and emergence of capable social actors

It has been mentioned that Bangladesh is an agriculture dependent country. Population living in rural area directly and indirectly depend natural resources for their life and livelihood. Thus the farmers of Bangladesh while doing agriculture works do try to consider the natural phenomenon and changes leading them to adapt to change in nature in every step of their agriculture work. BARCIK while facilitating farmers doing their indigenous knowledge based agro practices does try to strengthen, emphasize and mobilize their adaptive initiatives through meetings, lecture series, seminars, workshops, training on specific issues, exposure visit, dialogues, organization management etc. In those activities, not only the farmers but the other groups such as students, youth, women, fisher, forest resource collectors and indigenous people also participated. Participating in such activities has led the people of different ages, classes and occupation developed action plans and schedule in an integral way to address any problems in an organized way. BARCIK through its attachment with those people also tried to develop their capacity on organizational management, developing action plan, schedule and organizing and implementing different activities. However, the people with whom BARCIK works today are able developing their own plan and strategies to address any certain issue. They also share their plans with other groups in the area. Thus when the Upazilla coordination meeting or district coordination meetings take place in the sub-district and districts with the participation of NGOs representatives and others these people share their plans and designed activities to address their problem with others. This way, other people also know about the action to be taken. In the same time the other occupational groups also express their willingness to participate in those activities to strengthen and make the intense of the activities. This culture and practice of sharing action plans with each other has enabled the community people formulating integrated plans of actions.

Thus the facilitation of BARCIK when farmers conducted varietals selection aimed at searching, selecting and conserving climate adaptable local varieties for their perspective areas the other farmers also came to know this as it was shared with them. They visiting farmers also showed eagerness to know the result of the research and if successful they would try to replicate in their perspective areas. During the reporting and project period number of farmers collected the seeds of new selected varieties being developed by the farmers through the research activities. The mass initiative to protect the riverbank erosion (Padma) in Manikgonj was the result of integrated planes developed by the occupational groups. The Southern Climate Mass Dialogue held in Khulna also an example of integrated plans developed by people comprised farmers, students, women, NGOs, journalists. The ‘Coastal People Unity’, an organization formed in 2012 with the representatives of people of different ages, classes, religions and occupation organized the event with success. This was possible only because of the integral plans and decision taken by those people. In the same time it could be said that tree plantation, social actions (addressing early marriage, drug addiction, dowry, road repairmen etc.), climate camp to educate young generation about climate change: its cause and consequences, biodiversity conservation initiative through farming and conserving diverse vegetable and their seeds, conservation of uncultivated food plants and other mass initiatives are all the result of integrated plans of action.

MISEREOR Consultant – facilitated workshop on Climate Resilience in Satkhira

With the objective to enhance the capacity of the people regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation process as well as knowledge on climate change, cause and way to adapt to changed situation, MISEREOR consultant named Claire Greenwood faciliated the community people in Satkhira. It was through the faciltation that led community people to understand and articulate the climate change and non climate change impacts in their life. Besides, the consultant did have an intensive interaction with climate change project staffs of BARCIK regarding developing their facilitation skill in climate change issues as well as shaprening their knowledge on climate change and non climate change issues. Ms Claire Greenwood developed a cheklist along with background analysis of the climate change issue. She got all the BARCIK staff to work on the checklist with the objective to assess their knowledge on that issue. Besides, she shared the global issues of climate change adaptation and mitigation initiative to enrich the staff about climate change issues. On the other hand, youth groups, farmers, women, students and people of different occupations in 5 working areas are now much more aware about climate change, the importance of to conserve biodiversity for ensuring sustainability in environment and other issues being trained, facilitated and educated by different activities of BARCIK such as lecture series, training on climate change and environment, disaster risk reduction, preparation of different environment friendly organic manners and some more other initiative. These groups of people being more capable now do not confine them in their house or areas but they take initiative to disseminate and share the learning with their other fellow brothers, sisters.

They also take initiative to address their own and local problems without depending on others. Thus the demand to construct road, planting trees in both sides of roads in Netrakuna, re-excavation of canals in Barguna and Satkhira, serving the flood affected people during flood in Gaibandha, demanding security to stop the stolen of cattle in Manikgonj and addressing social problems-early marriage, dowry, drug addiction, women violence in all 5 areas are the activities being implemented by these capable and knowledgeable social actors. It is significant and has an implication because all these activities have been implemented either with small financial support from BARCIK or implemented by the social actors voluntarily. In addition, the increased rate of conserving seeds of local varieties, preparation of organic fertilizers and pesticides and initiative to abandon energy intensive agriculture among the farmers community in 5 working area is one of the major changes in the project areas. Adopting sustainable agriculture having all agriculture materials in the hands and control of farmers in one side benefit the farmers and increase their confidence and in other side, reduced use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides or totally abandoning energy intensive agriculture contributed in the adaptation and mitigation process of the climate change. Hence, assessing the impact of the project in wider perspective, there have been many good changes occurred which enabled the project meeting its objective and goal.