AN UNFAIR BATTLE AGAINST NATURE
Aarti Sana (38), a resident of Tildanga Union of Dacope in Khulna, faced many struggles with her life and livelihood because of climate change and climate disasters.
The cyclone Amphan has been particularly devastating. “After the cyclone, no one in the area had a place to stay. It took away our home and farm crops. Everything was under the water for 8-10 days. We had to toil day and night to get back on our feet.”, recalls Ms. Aarti.
Salinity in water and soil has recently become another obstacle to a decent life. “Because of high salinity in the area, only rice used to grow in these lands, and that too once a year. Rest of the year, we could not grow anything here.”, said Ms. Aarti about the condition in past.
For Aarti and others like her who do not have any land of their own, such mishaps mean very limited sources of income throughout the year.
A BEACON OF HOPE
LOCAL GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE ON CLIMATE CHANGE (LOGIC) PROJECT IS A 4-YEAR MULTI-DONOR COLLABORATIVE INITIATIVE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF BANGLADESH, UNDP, UNCDF, EUROPEAN UNION AND SWEDISH INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION AGENCY (SIDA), AND AIMS TO ENHANCE CAPACITY OF VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES, LOCAL GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS AND CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS FOR PLANNING AND FINANCING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION SOLUTIONS IN SELECTED CLIMATE VULNERABLE AREAS.
LoGIC project is locally led by the Local Government Division of the Ministry of Local Government Rural Development and Cooperatives which works in collaboration with other ministries and UNDP to customize the solutions for different selected areas. In Dacope, the aim has been to tackle the negative impacts of rising salinity and increasing frequency of cyclones, floods, and waterlogging.
As part of the aim to create climate resilience among the vulnerable people and promote climate adaptive livelihood options, LoGIC Project has facilitated trainings about farming climate
resilient fish varieties in brackish water and created the necessary market linkages to easily sell the produce.
This hs benefited people like Ms. Aarti Sana who have managed to increase income options in any given year because the entire process – starting from learning what else can be done and ending at selling the produce and maintaining savings account with the profit margin – has become more accessible.
LOGIC PROJECT ALSO CONSIDERS HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF THE CLIMATE-VULNERABLE PEOPLE TO BE A HIGH PRIORITY. COASTAL AREAS TEND TO FACE PROBLEMS ACCESSING DRINKABLE WATER, AND SALINITY IN WATER INCREASES EVEN MORE DURING DRY SEASON. THROUGH ITS PERFORMANCE BASED CLIMATE RESILIENCE GRANT (PBCRG), THE PROJECT HAS CO-FINANCED MULTIPLE INITIATIVES TO ENSURE UNINTERRUPTED SAFE DRINKING WATER SUPPLY. THROUGH RAINWATER HARVESTING (RWH) METHODS, SPECIAL TANKS COLLECT AND STORE RAINWATER AND RUN IT THROUGH MULTIPLE STAGES OF SOLAR-POWERED FILTRATION SYSTEM TO MAKE IT EASILY USABLE. THIS KEEPS PEOPLE AWAY FROM RELYING ON HIGHLY SALINE REGULAR WATER SOURCES.
THE JOURNEY OF TRANSFORMATION
Ms. Aarti and other eligible women in the area were screened and selected as beneficiaries of the project three years back. They were grouped together in teams so that they could work collaboratively and attain economies of scale.
Aarti’s team consists of 14 women who invest and farm in partnership. They have already been successful in cultivating watermelon and rice in leased lands and are currently diversifying into fish farming.
“I the past, we had no way for fish farming because the water had very high salinity. But through the training from the Upazila Agriculture Officer and guidance and assistance from LoGIC Project and Local Government Division, we have learnt about different fishes that can survive in this water. So, we have leased a pond, opted for 4/5 different types of fishes, and they are growing quite well now.”, Ms. Aarti shared happily.
She added, “All of us have our own shares, and I personally don’t have spend more than 20-30 taka daily to feed the fish. We are regularly checking the growth of the fish and will be able to sell them within just 1 year.
Union parishad, upazila parishad, agriculture office, fisheries and livestock office, UNDP, LoGIC, and local government – I am thankful to everyone who have helped people like us with such projects. I think I can sell up to 40,000-takaworth of fishes within 1 year of investing around 3,000 taka, and that is very good for my family. I am also thinking about starting watermelon and rice farming again when the season returns next year.”