Thousands of people living in riverine char areas have efficiently adapted to climate change to survive and lead normal life under adverse situations on the Brahmaputra basin.
Adapting to adverse situations, many of the char people are achieving self-reliance through various income-generating activities to improve livelihoods and lead better life in ten northwestern districts on the river basin.
Officials said the success was achieved following implementation of the 12-year term (2004-2016) comprehensive Chars Livelihoods Programmes (CLP), a joint government and non-government organisations’ initiative, reports UNB.
Under the programme, around 550,000 people of some extremely poor char families have improved livelihoods successfully adapting to changing climate.
The CLP improved livelihoods and living standard of the char people, who had to struggle daily to get food for their family members amid natural disasters and extreme poverty even a decade ago.
Talking to BSS, Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) Mamunur Rashid of RDRS Bangladesh, one of CLP implementing partners, said the interventions first began with raising plinths for houses in low-lying char areas to escape floods.
“The CLP has become a blessing for the char people living in the riverine island chars of Kurigram, Bogra, Gaibandha, Sirajganj, Jamalpur, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Rangpur, Pabna and Tangail districts on the Brahmaputra basin,” Rashid said.
After raising plinths for houses of the beneficiary families, various grants, assets, training and other assistance were provided to make them self-reliant through engaging them with income generation activities.
Chilmari upazila chairman Shawkat Ali Sarker, Bir Bikram, said CLP effectively assisted the char people in winning extreme poverty and improving socio-economic conditions.
“Due to economic uplift of the char people, their standard of living, health, hygienic and nutrition conditions improved, maternal and neonatal deaths and extent of malnutrition of children, women and pregnant women reduced in char areas,” Ali said.
Chairman of Rangpur-based research organisation ‘Northbengal Institute of Development Studies’ Dr Syed Samsuzzaman termed the CLP a very effective project that has enhanced capacities of the char people in adapting to climate change.
“The raised plinths are helping the char people in escaping floods every year side by side with improving their sanitation and pure drinking water facilities and running income generation activities,” Samsuzzaman added.
CLP beneficiaries Aklima, Rahela and Kulsum narrated as how they successfully adapted them to climate change impacts in Purbo Char Gunai village on the Teesta riverbed under Kawnia upazila in Rangpur.
“In the pasts, our families used to take shelter during floods in the neighboring areas or other facilities. The displacements caused huge losses to our assets, which were essential for living,” said Rahela.
“With the CLP assistance, we first raised plinths to become safe from the wraths of seasonal floods and established sanitary latrines and tube wells for pure drinking water to get rid of water borne diseases,” said Kulsum.
Later, they got training on various trades, awareness building issues, health, hygiene and sanitation and received assistance and inputs to begin income generation activities for earning and living better.
They started cultivating vegetables and other agri-activities, animal husbandry, poultry, tree plantation, set up compost heaps on raised homesteads, sewing handloom garments, small businesses and enterprises to enhance incomes.
The happier char women said their children are going to schools and living well with a dream of brighter future.
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