Communities in the delta area of Bangladesh are in grave danger of salt water inundation from huge tidal rivers that are increasingly breaking their banks. This can devastate villages, damage the simple houses and leave the locals struggling to grow crops in salinated soil. The Bangladesh Association of Sustainable Development (BASD), Gaia Education and CIFAL Scotland have responded to this dire situation with a 3-year consortium project. The project aims to improve sustainable food security and livelihoods of the vulnerable communities of Khulna and Bagerhat, Southern Bangladesh, through capacity building programmes, effective climate change adaptation strategies and interventions. The project was approved for funding by the Scottish Government in May 2013. –
The official project launch was on 20 July 2013 in Khulna Municipal Offices chaired by Keka Adhikery, President of BASD and attended by over 100 people representing target communities, government departments, local officials and other stakeholders. The Chief Guest Md. Mezbah Uddin, Honorable Deputy Commissioner of Khulna and all guests were welcomed with flowers and in keeping with local diverse cultures there was a recital from the Holy Quran by local Imam, a reading from the Holy Gita, and a Christian prayer.
Boniface S. Gomes. Executive Director of BASD, and Sylvester S Costa, Project Consultant, described how the project would address four core areas using a community based empowerment approach. The first output is concerned with training village leaders to increase community resilience, the second implementation of small-scale climate smart agriculture projects to increase food security, the third climate change adaptation demonstration schemes for local houses and the fourth advocacy to influence opinion relating to climate change policy locally, nationally, and internationally. Jane Rasbash, Project Director, delivered a welcome speech on behalf of CIFAL Scotland and Gaia Education highlighting the intention to build upon the body of knowledge of ecovillages of the region and all the community work being developed by BASD and the local villagers over the last 8 years in the project area.