Ongoing Project

Project name:  Adaptive Livelihood Towards Establishing Resilient communities (ALTER)
Project Duration:  April 2018 – Continuing
Funded by:  Bread for the World
Beneficiaries information835 Families of seagoing fishers and marginalized farmers

Background of the project:

ALTER project is being implemented in Ramnathpur, Mahmudkati, and Noakati village of Haridhali Union and Hitampur village of Godaipur Union of Paikgachha Upazila of Khulna District situated in the southwest coastal region of Bangladesh which is one of the most climate vulnerable areas in the world and poverty pocket of the country. The majority (about 87%) of the inhabitants of the project area are Hindu, including lower cast ‘Malo’ and ‘Nikari’ community considered as ‘Dalit’. Along with them, there are agriculture dependent communities named ‘Das’. This area is within the Impact Zone of Sundarbans Mangrove forest and have a tidal wetland ecosystem. Main options of livelihood; Agriculture, fishing, small trade, rickshaw pulling, boat transport, working in the commercial shrimp firm, small business, transport and communication, service, construction, religious service, rent, remittance and others. ICZMP (2005) reported 19 coastal Upazilas of Bangladesh are most vulnerable in which Khulna has 3 Upazilas namely Paikgachha, Koyra and Dacope. Paikgachha is one of the most vulnerable sea facing Upazilas of this region due to adverse impact of climate change and salinity.

Description of beneficiaries:

In Paikgachha Upazila, there are around 1600 households of seagoing fishers who are extreme marginalized occupational groups who are commonly known as ‘Malo’ and ‘Nikari’. They belong to the lower rank ‘Dalit’ class in social hierarchy. The ‘Malo’ people are religiously follower of Hinduism while the ‘Nikari’ are Muslim among the fisher community. These fishers are taking their life risks for fishing in the cyclone exposed Bay of Bengal to contribute in the food security and national GDP for many generations. Despite this, they are deprived from the mainstream of development.

Historically, the “Das” community of Paikgachha is involved in production of diversified agriculture. The local agriculture as well as the crop production has been adversely impacted due to the disruption on ecological balance, increased salinity in land and water, river bank erosion. As a result, their agro dependent livelihood options economically becoming more vulnerable and leads them to poverty.

The average per capita income of ‘Malo’ is around BDT 65 and ‘Das’ is around BDT 85 in the project area. The overall socio-economic condition of the villages of Haridhali and Godaipur union can be described multi-dimensionally by poverty, which restricts them from leading a minimum standard of living and the basic necessities of life. On the other hand, there are limited availability of alternative income generating options for the women due to lack of access to resources, which make them even poorer. The visible results of poverty in the area are malnutrition, ill health, poor housing condition and illiteracy.

Project Objective: Resilience of the target climate vulnerable fisher and farmer communities of Ramnathpur, Mahmudkathi, Noakati and Hitampur villages is strengthened.

Component-wise project activities:

Skills and Capacity Development:   In order to increase the skills and capacity of the target population of the project, sharing meetings, consultation meetings, workshops and issue-based trainings are held at different levels. In order to implement the project activities smoothly and to achieve the objectives of the project, thematic training will be conducted for the project staff. The project covers Fishers training on Local level strategy of reducing climate induced loss and Damage, Mockdrill on Emergency Response, Thematic courtyard meetings, Leadership Development Training, Community-based Disaster Preparedness, Farmers Training on Local Level Cropping strategy and Organic Farming, Market Linkage Orientation for small business groups, have been conducted. As the southwestern part of Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable areas in the world due to climate change and the project will be implemented to improve the living standards of the people in the region, AOSED participates in environment and climate related advanced training/seminars/workshops/policy meetings on adaptation, mitigation and relief.

Climate Adaptive Agriculture Development: Under the project AOSED  Household-based seeds and fertilizers distribution to increase agricultural production through trained farmers. In addition, seeds of indigenous climate tolerant varieties, solar powered irrigation technology, production of organic manure (vermicompost) at family level, model agriculture farm for demostrating the climate adaptive cultivation technique to farmers, seed production and preservation techniques, homestad vegetation support, crop calendar publication are included.

Women Development and Alternative Employment: In order to empower women and generate income generating alternative employment, women entrepreneurial groups will be assisted in fishnet weaving, making shopping bags, and producing puffed rice in indegeneous way, homestead vegetable production and marketing of their products for profitable return.

Disaster Preparedness and reducing loss and damage of seagoing traditional fishers: Various types of safety equipment and tools (life jackets, life buoys, compasses, torch lights) and mobile phones have been provided to the ocean fishermen for disaster preparedness and mitigation. Regular and live communication has been established through the Central Monitoring Hub, providing advice on taking shelter in safe places by providing weather forecasts to fishing boats at sea through Vessel Tracking Systems. Initiatives will also be taken to set up sea depression and cyclone tolerant tents in Dublar Char / Alorkol area for the fishermen to spend the night safely during the fishing season.

WASH Support: Under the project, household-based offset pit latrines have been installed. Selected families are provided with Rainwater Harvesting and Community-based Reverse Osmosis Technology Water Purification Plant (with a capacity of 8000 liters per day) has set up.

Local level advocacy: Sharing meeting at various levels for the development of effective relations of fishermen and farmers under the project with government officials and stakeholders at the upazila level; Round table meeting; Lobby meetings with policy makers and implementers at local, divisional and national level, social media campaigns, media coverage of livelihoods of people in the project area in newspapers and on television, organizing Climate and Water Conference highlighting water and environmental issues in the southwest coastal region (Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat) by collaborating with government, non-governmental organizations, research and educational institutes, letter campaign will be organized. In addition, sharing meeting will be held with banks and insurance companies to ensure easy access to bank loans and insurance facilities for sea-going fishermen.

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