Rural Women to Fight Against Climate Change
29 Oct 2017 by Bipasha Chakma, Communication Officer, IBFCR
Women constitute about half of the Bangladesh population, but their social status especially in rural areas still remains very low. Rural women belong to the most deprived section of the society facing adverse conditions in terms of social oppression, economic inequality and also natural hazards caused by the climate change.
Deluti Union of Paikgacha Upazila in Khulna District is such an area where climate change impact is high and affected badly by salinity. Due to this salinity, there is acute crisis of safe drinking water and livelihood options are shrinking fast for the community. They can get fresh water only during the monsoon and can cultivate once a year. Men and women are migrating to Dhaka or Khulna for jobs and becoming vulnerable. Those who don't want to migrate also struggling to survive. They are fighting with climate change and coming up with their own solutions. "Padma Pukur" is one such solution, which is helping the community to solve their drinking water problem temporarily by harvesting rainwater. "Padma Pukur" is located at Deluti Union Parishad building. But there is still much work to be done to make it clean and protected.
Apart from safe drinking water, it is also important to create a safe place for women to come and take part in income generating activities, beyond their household works. Earlier UNDP had a community-based risk assessment, to find out the most adverse effects of climate change on the community. Lack of safe drinking water sources and livelihoods, were the issues, we found after the assessment. Families are mainly dependent on agriculture and finishing for their livelihoods. Erratic climate patterns, extreme weather events and saline intrusion, makes access to water and livelihoods difficult for coastal families.
Considering the situation UNDP through its IBFCR (Inclusive Budgeting and Financing for Climate Resilience) project has been working there and recently it has introduced two schemes to support vulnerable women and adolescent girls to adapt household and community level livelihood activities. Renovation of "Padma Pukur" is going on, to provide safe water and "Women Centre" is being created for women to gather and talk and take part in economic activities.
Earlier there was no such space for women in the community. This is a multi-purpose centre and it will be used differently to generate revenue from this.
UNDP through the project will provide technical support to the group of women on different issue to build their capacities and encourage them to take in income generating activities. UNDP will also help them to connect/identify with relevant business entrepreneurs/ stakeholders. This will not only empower women economically but also ensure their rights to be established.