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Partner organization: Christian Aid UK

Duration of the Project: Phase I lasted for three years and two months, starting from February 2011 to March 2014. . Phase II has just begun from April 2014 and will continue till March 2014.

Impact: A state of enhancement reached where modification in governance practice has affirmative change in the livelihood of targeted population through empowering community and capacitating them to withstand unexpected occurrences.

Outcome: Targeted communities have improved livelihood, adequate access to public services and natural resources and became resilient to climate-induced vulnerabilities, especially unheard and left-out hardcore poor households in Bahorbuniya,  Jeodhara, Khaulia and Nishanbaria Union sof Morelganj Upazila.

Inputs:

  • Need-based livelihood assistance for 720 households (livelihood support for 520 households and rest 200 will get support under producer groups) to augment and secure their means of living

  • Capacity building of marginalized communities through improving their skill on Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock. 18 Group-wise orientations on livelihood related services (E.g. Agriculture, livestock, fisheries etc) will be conducted by Upazila/Union level personnel from respective department.

  • Four producer groups will be formed and supported to improve their existing market mechanism.

  • Participatory analysis in the selected communities to develop Risk Reduction Action Plan and financial support for community-led project implementation. 18 PVCA, 18 action plans, 02 plans with UDMC and 01 plan with UzDMC will be done in every year.

  • Financial support will be given to selected project, once in every year, which will include community, civil society, local government, and CSOs.

Engagement of local level civil society to better manage disaster risks e.g. Ward Disaster Management Committee and Upazila Facilitation Committee. 18 WDMC and 01 UFC will be formed and coordinated quarterly.

Overview:

The IPCC has identified Bangladesh as one of the most vulnerable nations in the face of climate change. As the Himalayan glaciers melt, sea levels rise and unpredictable weather patterns ensue, Bangladesh is experiencing more frequent and intense cyclones, increased flooding and encroaching salinity. In the densely populated coastal communities, cyclones threaten lives, homes and land, while salinity is reducing the already inadequate fresh water supply and rendering traditional farming practices unviable.

The project seeks to promote sustainable development in the face of climate change, linking disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, sustainable livelihoods and good governance. The key techniques in this approach are community mobilization, capacity building, linking communities to government services, and establishing sustainable livelihood practices. The findings will be shared widely across the field of disaster management.

The broader community will benefit from improved governance and formalized disaster risk reduction practices.

Project Areas and Beneficiary

The project has included four climate-vulnerable and excessively poverty stricken Unions from Morrelganj Upazila in Bagerhat District, which are Bohorbunia, Jeodhara, Nishanbaria and Khaulia Unions.

Morrelganj lies on the south coast of Bangladesh, adjacent to the East Sundarbans, part of the world’s largest mangrove forest. The area is frequently devastated by cyclones, storms, tidal surge and even flood caused by unusual high tides. Communities in this locality also suffered during the Cyclone Sidr (2007) and the Cyclone Alia (2009). Nowadays, ordinary events like high-tide in the floodplain region are causing noteworthy economic damages. The cost of disaster like SUPER CYCLONE ‘SIDR’ remains unreimbursed for elongated period.

The new targets unions for phase II of the project are Jeodhara and Bahorbuniya. Total population of Jeodhara and Bahorbuniya is 54087, approximately 11,000 households. The Jeodhara Union has large border with the magnificent mangrove forest, part of East Sundarban Wildlife Sanctuary. Thousands of marginalized people are residing in this union are extensively dependant on this basket of natural resources. On the other hand, the Bahorbuniya Union is somewhat disjointed from Upazila and District administrations. The only means of transportation during monsoon is river. 720 beneficiaries (one from each household) would be selected through PIP (Poorer Identified by poor). In addition to the new target unions BDPC will also be conducting similar activities in the target unions of phase I, which are Khaulia and Nishanbaria with population of 35,650 and 42,500 people respectively.

Implementation Process:

The Morrelganj Upazila under the Bagerhat District administration is one of the most exposed localities in the coastal region of the country (DDM and CDMP). Simultaneously, the said Upazila is documented as one of the most poverty stricken areas by World Bank and GoB. Like other coastal parts of Bangladesh, Morrelganj has been struggling with multi-dimensional hazards. Hazards like cyclone, drought, salinity ingress, river bank erosion, ill-time raining, decreased precipitation and unpredictable oscillation in temperature are disrupting every part of the means of livelihood of communities. Low-lying areas, such as the coastal region along the Bay of Bengal and estuaries are especially vulnerable. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels could rise up to 10 to 23 inches by 2100, but in recent years sea levels have been rising faster than the upper end of the range predicted.

 

“There is now international acknowledgement that efforts to reduce disaster risks must be systematically integrated into policies, plans and programmes for sustainable development and poverty reduction... Sustainable development, poverty reduction, good governance and disaster risk reduction are mutually supportive objectives and in order to meet the challenges ahead, accelerated efforts must be made.” - Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.

 

The bespoke project has incorporated two new Unions from Morelganj Upazila, which are Jeodhara and Bahorbuniya, for its extension period of the PPA programme. BDPC’s intervention in Nishanbaria and Khaulia Unions (During phase 1) has brought some noteworthy alteration in people’s mindset. Evidently, participatory asset transferring among hardcore poor, empowering marginal communities, advocacy at the local level (e.g. Social Safety-net programme), CRA/PVCA conduction and LDRRAP development and its implementation through engaging multi-stakeholders into rural development have shown encouraging consequences in last three years. Besides continuing engagement with Nishanbaria and Khaulia Unions in small scale, the project will include similar kind of stakeholders like Sachetan Dal (direct beneficiary), WDMC, UDMC, UzDMC and UFC for its second phase.

 

Community capacity-building on an individual level requires the development of conditions that allow individual participants to build and enhance existing knowledge and skills. It also calls for the establishment of conditions that will allow individuals to engage in the "process of learning and adapting to change." On the other hand, community capacity building on an institutional level must involve aiding pre-existing institutions.

 

In Morrelganj, project will spotlight on building capacity of the local government to address livelihood issues, climate change adaptation, DRR, and governance issues and also to include community people, especially poor and vulnerable, within overall development process. 75% of the project beneficiaries will be women. In this regard, extensive participatory analysis will be undertaken to learn about the neighborhoods e.g. PVCA. PVCA will have the reflection of power dynamic of the locality and the gender related issues or complexity. The women participations and inclusion of minority will get the highest preference into the project. Building relationship with community and local government will also be done using different workshop and advocacy event. From the day one, project will instigate to implement planned interventions in vigorous collaboration and engagement of different department under Local Government namely Union Parishod, Upazila Parishod, Agriculture Department, Livestock Department, Fisheries Department and Department of Forestry. UDMCs will be involved, and special focus will be given on Ward Disaster Management Committee (WDMC), which will be formed under this project. This will bridge the gap between community and local government. In addition, the previously formed civil society group at the Upazila level (Upazila Facilitation Committee) will continue providing support in advocacy at the Upazila and Union level.

 

To implement community level activities, besides Sachetan Dal, WDMC and Change Agents will be involved. The group of young, rejuvenated, enthusiastic and committed volunteers (named as ‘Change Agent’) will have engagement beyond regular activities under the project. For instance, WDMC and Change Agents will have positive attachment in awareness campaign, campaign on good governance, environmental campaign, and assisting incapable villagers to reach and avail public services. Change Agents will be actively engaged in different training conduction, Social Accountability Tools implementation and awareness campaigns.

 

BDPC has in-built downward accountability mechanism. The project related information (e.g. activities, workplan, and budget) will be shared with all the stakeholders during the commencing period of the project e.g. Upazila Parishod, Union Parishod, Civil Society and Community. In the process of ensuring accountability and transparency of the project, all the partakers will have participations. Above that, this particular has designed activity for ensuring accountability and transparency of Service Providing Agencies e.g. Union Parishod, Agriculture Department and others.

 

Community empowerment and accountable local government institutions is the foremost important doorway for ensuring the sustainability of the project and its outcomes. BDPC’s intervention during the first phase of the PPA programme has considerably distorted people’s perceptions in the community. The alteration process been introduced and practiced in last three years has somewhat changed the conventional practices. As organization, BDPC may not function there for long, but the enhancement will sustain for long. 

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