Building Capacity & Empowering Communities in Bangladesh
Project Milestones - Year 1
The official launch of the Bangladesh project took place 20 July in Khulna. It has since gone from strength to strength delivering three successful courses: Climate Change Workshop, Permaculture Design Course (PDC) and an adapted Ecovillage Design Course (DSSB). The curriculums were carefully adapted to the specific needs of the region and translated by local experts into Bengali. See more photos here.
Climate Change Awareness Raising Seminar
In September 2013, in Uttar Banishanta, Khulna District, 52 communities undertook the Climate Change Workshop, covering a range of topics, from basic climate change concepts, to minimising impacts, mitigation techniques and scenario planning.
See more photos of the Seminar here.
Permaculture Design Course (PDC)
During the first week of October, the first Permaculture Design Course ran sessions about observation, zoning, aquaculture design and food security, all using a permaculture approach. The 31 participants were presented with practical strategies to face the adversities of climate change, such as soil salinisation and potable water contamination. Particular concern was placed on addressing the widespread use of chemical fertilisers and lack of awareness of the potential damage caused to the soil.
Design for Sustainable Settlements course (DSSB)
The Design for Sustainable Settlements course was launched by May East, CEO for CIFAL Scotland at the time, in November 2013. The integrated EDE course invited the 20 participants to explore the four pillars of sustainability and educate as adequate communicators of their knowledge and skills to the 42 communities targeted by the project.
See photos here.
Small Project Sites
During the first year, the participants of the Building Capacity and Empowering Communities (BCEC) project progressively established nine project sites such as vegetable gardens, horticulture sand vermiculture sites and canal fisheries, whose development and management are overseen by Village Development Committees.
Different groups developed three organic vegetable garden projects across the villages.
The gardens were designed to increase the level of organic food grown in the communities, but, crucially, the gardens were a place for other villagers to acquire valuable organic food growing skills.
A further six vegetable gardens in other villages were to be developed in Year 2 and Year 3 of the project.
See more photos of the gardens here.
Canal Fisheries were developed by in three villages in Banishanta District. The canal fisheries gradually became important sources of fresh water and food for the communities. Selling the fish also constitutes a source of income for some families.
However, in order to prevent saline water getting into the ponds, a serious threat that the communities and the sites face regularly, new innovative ways had to be established.
Four more sites were to be developed in years 2 and 3 of the project.
Approximately 90 people were working regularly on the various project sites during Year 1 and more and more of the other village members began to take part and learn new skills.