Feeding ducks © IUCN Bangladesh
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:
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:
Community members of the Union of Kaikhali under the Sub-district of Shyamnagar of Satkhira District.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Koikhali, Shyamnagar, Satkhira
25th May 2016 to 24th May 2017
Caritas Bangladesh and the local community
BDT. 570,250 (Caritas BDT. 349,000 and Community BDT. 221,250)
Francis Atul Sarker, Executive Director, Caritas Bangladesh,
2 Outer Circular Road, Shantibagh, Dhaka 1217,
Phone: 880+2+8315405-9, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org