Development of Rural Economy through Agro-aqua-livestock Management (DREAM) Project.

Feeding ducks

Feeding ducks © IUCN Bangladesh


  • Create alternative livelihoods of the poor and increase biodiversity of Kaikhali through development of community enterprise in order to reduce pressure on the World Heritage Sundarbans.
  • Building the capacity of the existing cooperative society based on the Sabkhali Canal in regards to proper utilization of the water of Sabkhali Canal, raising funds to sustain their activities.



The project area is located in the south west part of Bangladesh which is one of the most vulnerable areas due to climate change and natural disaster like cyclone, tidal surges, saline intrusion, water logged. It is in the Union of Kaikhali under the Sub-district of Shyamnagar of Satkhira District which is situated about 130 km south west from Khulna city. It is adjacent to the world heritage mangrove forest Sundarbans and 60 km north from the Bay of Bengal. Satkhira is in south-western Bangladesh and is a part of Khulna Division. The area of Satkhira district is 3858.33 km. It is bordered to the north by Jessore district, on the south by the Bay of Bengal, to the east by Khulna district, and to the west by 24 Pargana district of West Bengal, India. Cyclone, drought, floods, storm surges, sea level rise, saline intrusion etc are common natural fact and hazards here.  Thousands of people are affected by these natural hazards causing sometimes disasters every year, forcing people into abject poverty and vulnerability. About 30-40 million poor people of low-lying delta lands have long been surviving along with the serious flooding and devastating cyclones. About fourth nine of the total population of the country lives in the coastal area. The livelihoods of the inhabitants mainly depend on wage labor, small boat trawling, and honey collection, collection of forestry products from the Sundarbans, subsistence fishing and agriculture. Some people are engaged in agriculture, shrimp and fish cultivation, small trading. The poor, marginal people, women, children suffer the most from salinity intrusion, decrease of agricultural productivity, frequent cyclones and tidal surges. They have very limited capacity, knowledge and resources to deal shocks and fluctuation of natural systems.

In the working area, salinity is increasing alarmingly due to sea level rise and unplanned shrimp farming. The area is single cropped and only rain fed transplanting Aman rice cultivated here. The Aman cultivation hampered caused by irregular rainfall. So, the dependency on Sundarbans was increasing here tremendously. The community dwelling near by the Sundarbans would go to collect various resources for their lives and livelihoods. Sabkhali, Koikhali & Boishkhali are three villages adjacent to the Sundarbans and the community people of these villages were also dependent on the World Heritage Sundarbans and the rivers flowing through her.

The livelihoods of the inhabitants mainly depend on wage labor, small boat trawling, and honey collection, collection of forestry products from the Sundarbans, subsistence fishing and agriculture. Some people are engaged in agriculture, shrimp and fish cultivation, small trading. The poor, marginal people, women, children suffer the most from salinity intrusion, decrease of agricultural productivity, frequent cyclones and tidal surges. They have very limited capacity, knowledge and resources to deal shocks and fluctuation of natural systems. They are lack of proper understanding and awareness about the emerging changes in nature, environment, climate and society.

The major problems are identified were:                 

  • Scarcity or unavailability of fresh water from ground and surface water for irrigation,
  • Less job opportunity,
  • Permanent and seasonal migration,
  • Livelihood insecurity,
  • Safe drinking water,
  • Disease of poultry,
  • Fuel crisis for cooking,
  • Women and children trafficking,
  • Early marriage and dowry due to poverty,
  • Malnutrition and poor health.

These problems affect the community people especially the poor of the area. In order to address the problems, the community needs adaptation and coping strategy, proper knowledge, information and technology, financial and livelihood support.

Food insecurity is a major threat to the community in the coastal area. Food production has decreased as a result of the combination of sea level rise and shrimp farming, which has increased the level of salinity in the soil and water, thereby destroying traditional varieties of rice, vegetables and fruit. In addition, non organic fertilizers, which have been introduced to increase production, have had no visible impact on crop harvests, levels and through the wash off into public ponds, have also had a negative impact on the environment, biodiversity, livestock’s, fisheries and people’s health. 

Challenges and opportunities observed are as follows:


  • Sea level rise due to climate change.
  • Intrusion of saline water due to unplanned shrimp farming.
  • Community people especially the poor are still dependent on Sundarbans and the rivers flowing through
  • Irregular and heavy rainfall
  • People migrate seasonally from their own villages
  • Frequently occurred disaster like cyclone, tidal surge, high tide, water logging etc.


  • Some fresh water sources for irrigation made available through digging ditches by the community people themselves in crop fields surrounding the Sabkhali Canal.
  • Adequate manpower prevails in the areas that have good agricultural knowledge.
  • A self Organized and registered Cooperative Society is leading the interested community.   



Target beneficiaries

Community members of the Union of Kaikhali under the Sub-district of Shyamnagar of Satkhira District. 


  • Data collection for baseline survey was completed by 20 July 2016. The data from 3 villages such as Sabkhali, Kaikhali & Boishkhali collected through used a prescribed format. Different socio-economic information has been collected from 610 households of the villages.
  • Total 6 different groups have been formed separately as the community enterprises such as Ram rearing committee, plantation committee, Fish culture committee, Duck rearing committee, Hen rearing committee, Vegetable cultivation committee.
  • A total of eighteen community meetings were organized at village level during the reporting period. Total 407 persons attended the meetings (male 283, female 124). 
  • Two Community meetings at Union level were organized and total 74 persons attended (male 66, female 8).
  • One community meeting at Upazila level on 1st February, 2017 was organized at Subkhali Canal side. A total of 44 persons attended (male-34, female-10).
  • 6 (six) community meetings on promoting community enterprise were organized at village level. Total 453 persons (men 369, women 84) attended the meetings.
  • A total of four training were organized on Leadership and Management for the members of existing Cooperative Credit Union on 17 and 19 November, 2016, 30 January, 2017 and 25 February, 2017 at Sabkhali community Club. Total 46 persons (men 44 and women 2) attended the training.
  • A total of two Training were organized on agro-aqua livestock rearing on 24 July, 2016 and 12 October, 2016. A total of 60 persons attended (male-51, female- 9) in the training program.
  • Two Exchange visit on livestock rearing held on 22 July 2016 and 21 November 2016 at Dhumghat & Manikkhali  village of Ishwaripur union under Shyamnagor upazila. A total of 45 participants attended (male- 34, female-11).
  • Two Exchange visit on Duck- poultry rearing organized on 22 November2016 and 18 December 2016. A total of 50 people (male-19, female 31) were attended in the program.
  • Two visits on horticulture held on 8 March 2016 & 23 November 2016 at Hybadpur village of Shyamnagor upazila. A total of 52 people (male-33, female 19) were attended.
  • A total of three fish sanctuaries have been established partially in Sabkhali Canal.
  • A total of 795 kg local fingerlings were released in Canal from local hatchery and 863 kgs fish were sold to local market and received Tk. 83,586. Five farming groups having 100 community people were organized through community meeting with interested and previously experienced people.
  • A total of 29 pieces Saline tolerant local Ram was purchased as a community enterprise.
  • A total of 200 nos. saline tolerant Khaki Camble duck were purchased on 19 October 2019.
  • A total of 250 nos. Sonali layer poultry birds were purchased on 19 October 2016. Training and exposure on duck and poultry rearing were organized.
  • 100 people formed a group as the community enterprise and established fruits and timber garden on the canal dyke. Total 2,000 saplings such as Mango, Kul, Guava, Safeda, Lemon, coconut, Kadbel have been purchased and planted on the both dykes of Sabkhali Canal.
  • A total of 10 species local saline tolerant vegetables seed were purchased and cultivated on the both dykes of Sabkhali Canal. Training and visit and exposures were organized to visit integrated farms in order to know and learn the practical situation as well as knowledge.



Accomplishments and challenges

  • Alternate job opportunities created of the poor through community enterprises of poultry rearing, duck rearing, vegetables cultivation, plantation, sheep rearing and fish farming.
  • Empowerment of the women are visible in terms of economic and decision making in the family as well as in the community through taking part in agro-aqua-livestock management directly and involving themselves in different development activities implemented in their villages like selection of the most vulnerable persons to receive supports, right places for setting infrastructures, problems faced by the women or girls even the community and taking part a vital role of finding the ways to solve social issues.
  • The community people have built a good network with the GOs, NGOs, Civil Society etc. to meet their needs for improvement of life and livelihoods through receiving technical and input support from the Local Government Institutions and safety net programs implemented by the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Good relationship is observed among all communities (Muslim and Munda adivasi) through implementing project interventions in a body.
  • Dependency on Sundarban and seasonal migration to cities and towns has been reduced through engagement of local people in six community enterprises and rice cultivation.
  • They are knowledgeable on environment related to climate change issues through different meetings, exposure programs and coming in touch with local government institutions (LGIs), NGOs and Government Officials. 
  • The local funding agency MFF-IUCN has applied to the United Nations body for getting the award for outstanding achievement of the DREAM project in multi dimension areas like-gender equality and empowering women & ethnic (Munda adivasi) community, creation of job opportunity through community enterprises, reducing pressure on the World heritage Sundarbans, strong cooperation and relationship developing among community people including GOs/NGOs/CBOs, and with local level service provideThe community people are aware on enterprises and acquired knowledge about project objectives, activities and process of implementation.
  • The community people including the Executive Members of the Samobay Samity are aware about their role and responsibilities and good relationship have been established with village level groups and inter village.
  • The participants have gained knowledge and skilled on agro-aqua livestock through the training, meeting and exposure program and the participants undertook various activities.
  • The community people realized the canal is as their resources.
  • Community people are selecting the saline tolerant adaptive varieties of crops, plants and animals for better and more production and earning more money due to climate change situation.
  • Sabkhali Sarbik Gram Unnayan Samobaya Samity members have become sensible to adopt Credit Union Group approach. Savings habit of the Sabkhali Sarbik Gram Unnayan Samobaya Samity members is growing day by day. And monthly savings in cooperative fund is increasing day by day. The community and villagers are realizing that the canal as their resources.

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

  • Climate change impacts:

Sabkhali Sarbik Gram Unnayan Samobaya Samity and Community people have become well-informed and knowledgeable on climate change issues and adaptation, DRR, climate justice, leadership and management, Men women relationship etc. through different activities like skill development trainings, exposure visits, promoting meeting, village level, union level and Upazila level meeting. Strong networks have been established with the GOs and NGOs level. Project participants are sharing their acquired knowledge to others from exposure and skill development training. Community people are able to reduce the climate change impacts due to salinity by using fresh water to their agro-aqua-livestock farming. 

  • Gender equality:

In skill Development Training, community meeting, promoting meeting, exposure program and in built project activities, the participation of the women and munda community have been increased. They are engaging in diversified occupations such as plantation of fruit trees, duck and  hen rearing, ram rearing, paddy cultivation, vegetables cultivation, fish cultivation, fish sanctuary enterprise and their purchasing capacity, marketing power, and mobility is also increasing and their family members are getting balanced diet, clothes, medicine etc. through their direct involvement in the project.

  • Conflict sensitivity:

The Cooperative society and Canal Management Committee (CMC) is aware and empowered to minimize the unnecessary situation. The land value of the project sites are increasing day by day due to increasing production especially rice through crop diversification. The dyke plantation, fish farming, duck and poultry rearing, ram rearing, vegetables cultivation and fish sanctuary establishment are good initiatives for earning income of the poor. The community is very busy with works with no conflict in future. The community people have a good network with the GOs, NGOs, LGIs, Banks, Civil Society and Social Organizations etc. to meet their needs for improvement of life and livelihoods. The local political leaders (Upazila Chairman, Union Parishad Chairman and Members) declared that Sabkhali Canal could be kept free from political disorder and conflict. 

  • Property rights and resource tenure:

An agreement has been completed between local government and Canal Management Committees (CMC) to use of canal water and opportunities to cultivate agricultural crops, poultry rearing, fish farming, plantation surrounding the canal area. The committee distributes the lands to the poor and marginal farmers through participatory way. The local government is also helping the committee to overcome the problems (if any). The enterprises are playing good roles to controlling the rights of poor farmers and tenure system. Near about 400 farmers are using canal water to Boro field of 200 bighas (200x33 decimals i.e. 66 acres) during the reporting period. The women and munda community are feeling empowered and they find dignity and empowerment in their families as well as in the society. The canal management committee and its savings accumulation system and production income is helping to sustain the process. During the reporting time, members of the cooperative society deposited a total of Tk. 71,568 in 6th April 2017. Moreover, the community people have taken decision to distribute all loss and benefits equally among the total members of the six community enterprises, as because all the enterprises are not profitable equally.

Lessons Learned

  • Community people enhanced and motivated rapidly through watching and participating directly to the success activity.
  • Community participation in every activity is most important to overcome the challenges.
  • The training program and demonstration on livestock rearing and horticulture have increased practical knowledge of the community people.
  • Local leaders may be the reason either for enhancing or decreasing the progress of the project intervention.
  • Joint and collaborative support is essential for developing the rural economy.
  • Exposure visit is more important than theoretical training.
  • Government officials become friendlier if communication is built up by the community people. Some government officials show solidarity with the communities through attending different meetings and trainings.
  • Fresh water makes the crop field green.
  • Strengthening Cooperative Society and support from local Government is essential for sustainability.

Project Facts



Koikhali, Shyamnagar, Satkhira



25th May 2016 to 24th May 2017

MFF Grant Amount

BDT 1,900,000

Co-financing Partner

Caritas Bangladesh and the local community 

BDT. 570,250 (Caritas BDT. 349,000 and Community BDT. 221,250)

Implementing Partner

Caritas Bangladesh

Francis Atul Sarker, Executive Director, Caritas Bangladesh,

2 Outer Circular Road, Shantibagh, Dhaka 1217,

Phone: 880+2+8315405-9,

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