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The case of Burigoalini Union

  • Published at 05:37 pm May 27th, 2019
Climate Tribune_May 2019_Pg 6 & 7 (1)
Photo: Courtesy

An initiative in action

Climate change poses great challenges for the rural poor in developing countries who tend to rely on natural resources for their livelihoods and have limited capacity to adapt to climate change. It has become increasingly clear that even serious efforts to mitigate climate change will be inadequate to prevent devastating climate change impacts. 

These impacts threaten to reverse many of the economic gains made in the developing world in recent decades. Therefore individuals, communities, and policymakers adapt Community based Adaptation (CBA) as a process to increase resilience against future climate change.  

CBA is particularly important across Asia and Bangladesh in particular, which is especially vulnerable to climate change impacts. Burigoalini Union is Located in the Southwest of Bangladesh and borders with India. The area is mainly situated in the vast coastal plain at the apex of the Bay of Bengal.  

Cyclones, salinity intrusion, and floods are common and often extreme events that occur in this part. The cyclones that occur each and every year in the Bay of Bengal regularly produce severe flooding in the Coastal Region, for example, the recent Cyclone Fani in May 2019. Sometimes it works as a push factor for migration which ends up as a different type of threat.  

This situation has directly been negatively impacting water, sanitation, overall public health and sustainable livelihood of the Small and landless farmers as most of the People of this union work as Bonojibi (who works in the Forest), Shrimp Farmer, Fisherman, Honey Collector and Crab Farmer. So, in this situation Community Based Adaptation Strategies helps to move toward transformed resilience for the community as it’s mainly based on the premise that local communities have the skills, experience, local knowledge and networks to undertake locally appropriate activities. The Following Community Based Adaptation Practices are taken by the Union People.

Crab Farming

Crabs Farming is less susceptible to disease and more resistant to adverse environment conditions, poor water quality and climate change. In Burigoalini Union, Soft-shell crabs are produced by keeping individual crabs in plastic boxes in brackish water ponds, feeding them locally available raw fish and harvesting them right after they molt. 

Due to high prices in international markets, crab farming is gaining popularity in the coastal districts of Bangladesh and many shrimp farmers are switching to crabs farming. Khadija Begum, 27, is now working as a crab Farmer and she said that she used to get 6000 at the beginning taka and now she gets 7500 taka monthly. Especially Crabs Farming works as an opportunity for the women of the Cyclone prone area to be empowered and financially interdependent. After shrimp, crabs farming have become the second-most exported crustacean from Bangladesh. They are exported live to Different Countries. 

Rain Water Harvesting

The freshwater crisis is a major concern which arises from the salinity intrusion in the coastal region. This Union also faces the same problem. Presently, a freshwater supply source like ponds, groundwater, canals, and rivers in this area is not reliable due to the salinity intrusion and the climate change effect. Failure of this freshwater supply largely affects the financial position of this community people with increasing health costs and reducing income opportunities.

Rainwater Harvesting is seen as a good alternative source of freshwater which is used to collect water during the monsoon, and preserved and used during the freshwater crisis period especially during the dry season in this Community. Rainwater Harvesting (RH) for reducing the freshwater crisis that might lead to socioeconomic development for this community.

Goat Rearing Practice

Goat has been described as a poor man’s cow because of its immense contribution to the poor man’s economy. It not only supplies nutritious and easily digestible milk but also regular source of additional income for poor and landless or marginal farmers. Being small-sized animals, goats can easily be managed by women and children of this community. 

Capital investment and feeding costs are also quite low. In this Union “Goat Rearing” Project is running by the Help of UNDP and GIZ said by the mayor of Sathkhira, Tazkin Ahmed. Moreover, goat rearing is the most useful way of women earning those who stay at home.  It provides socio-economic development for the community people of the country. 

Home Stead Farming 

In rainy season, the people of this Union generally do homestead farming beside their Home. They grow different types of Vegetable, fruits etc.  It gives support directly and indirect benefits to them as well as to nature. Sometimes they sell the vegetables and fruits in the local market. The women of this union mainly do homestead farming.

Pickle, Jam, and Jelly Production 

In this Community the pickle, jam, and jelly is produced by the “Bonojibi Women development Organization”. They use Local Ingredients to produce them and they sell them in 150 taka in the local market. 

Community Based Adaptation offers significant advantages in seeking to make adaptation interventions more relevant to vulnerable people by considering the range of social and economic factors that drive vulnerability. As a result, Community based Adaptation strategies may end up by benefiting the vulnerable people economically in the Burigoalini Union. It reflects the priorities and needs of all members of the Community. Due to CBA, the vulnerable people of the union, now can protect their assets and boost their incomes, they become better able to manage climate uncertainties.

Adiba Bintey Kamal is a Masters student of Development Studies at Bangladesh University of Professionals. She is currently working with ICCCAD as a youth member from the Youth Mentorship Program.