Support for women to build their adaptive capacity to climate change

Climate change affects everyone, but not equally. Women are among the most vulnerable to climate change due to the inequality, marginalization, poverty and access to livelihoods. For that, women are at greatest risk of climate related hazards. Bangladesh is considered as one of the most climate vulnerable countries and women in hard to reach areas, like Deluti Union of Paikgacha Upazila in Khulna District, still remain deprived. Structural and cultural disparities in Bangladesh make them disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Finance Division has been working to address this challenge through the increasing flow to climate finance. The Inclusive Budgeting and Financing for Climate Resilience (IBFCR) project ensures, women are considered in national strategy for climate change. Under this project, Deluti Union Parishad has already conducted risk assessments, developed a baseline of the situation and developed a local climate action plan with the objective of minimizing the risks posed by climate change impacts. The climate action plan specifically identified and prioritized the access to saline-free drinking water and adaptive livelihood options for women as actions to reduce climate risks.The programme “Strengthening Governance of Climate Change Finance to Enhance Gender Equality (2017-2022)” has been supporting the implementation of two schemes, thereby implementation of the local climate action plan to demonstrate gender-responsive climate actions at local level.


10The total population of Deluti is 25,494 (2011 census), which is comprised of fifty four percent male and forty six percent female. Majority of the people are engaged in fishing and farming, while other occupational groups are also found, such as day laborers, traders, transport workers, mason, etc. Families are large in size, in many cases comprising of three generations in one household and even several children.
8Salinity is the biggest threat to agriculture and livelihoods. People mostly cultivate a single crop in the year, and the rest of the time they grow vegetables and engage in shrimp and crab farming. There are a few fish, crab and shrimp depos in Deluti Union where mainly women and children can sell fries for a little income. Women can be spotted wading through the muddy shores with their blue nets.
13Women are more vulnerable to climate change in comparison to men, because of the culture and the gendered roles they play. Women are primarily responsible for caring for their home and family. They are responsible for fetching food and water, and at times take part in small income generating activities within the scope of their homesteads, leaving little time to engage in community activities at the end of the day.
5Community-based risk assessments reveal a lot of the factors which contribute to the climate and disaster vulnerability,and risks of Deluti Union.The thorough and participatory process allows facilitators to talk to men, women and smaller socio-economic groups to bring forth their specific vulnerabilities and capacities. Prioritization of risks and actions to mitigate risks are agreed upon by the whole community,resulting in what is known as the ‘Risk Reduction Plan
15.1Concerns of specially impacted groups are carefully considered in community-based risk assessments and the resulting risk reduction plans. Bangladesh prioritizes the needs of women - particularly pregnant and young mothers, children, elderly and persons living with disability. Although more is yet to be done, steps are taken to make infrastructure accessible to all. However, cultural norms remain the biggest barrier to the integration of specially impacted groups in the community.
1The Annual Development Plan and budget is implemented through funds from various sources. Deluti Union Council has access to small amounts of finance from local government administration budgets, disaster funds, social safety nets. The finances mainly support maintenance and repairs to infrastructure, leaving little for development and building resilience.
18.1Steps leading down to the ‘Padma Pukur’ were renovated. This allows safe and easy access for women when collecting drinking water. Over time, the sides of the pond will be raised to prevent the intrusion of contaminated water during floods, cyclones and high storm surges. The pond remains the main source of drinking water for the community.
11.1The need for developing skills for women to engage in climate adaptive livelihoods was identified through the community-based risk assessment and planning process as a means to reduce vulnerability and build resilience. A Women’s Centre is being built to provide a space for women to learn about and engage in climate adaptive livelihoods. A day-care centre for young children is built into the space, so mothers can also take part in activities.
3Salinity intrusion in water and soil makes it challenging to grow rice and crops in Deluti Union. The Union Council provided the space to demonstrate various innovative and climate adaptive livelihood options for its people, such as the instalment of a hydroponic system. Women receive training on how to use hydroponics to grow vegetables.
19.1Women and specially impacted groups are involved in all stages from planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation. Next, women and specially impacted groups will be supported to track climate financing and audit climate investments on ground to ensure it has effectively met the needs of everyone in the community, especially those most at risk from climate change.
9.1Eighty percent of the landmass under Deluti Union is within 1.75 meters above sea level. Rivers run through with its waters pounding onto the banks, making river erosion the greatest environmental hazard faced by its people. Climate-related disasters, such as cyclones, floods and high tidal surge, regularly affect the community. Salinity intrusion into soil and drinking water sources greatly affect the life and livelihood of the people.
12Men generally play the role of the main bread-winner of the household, the majority engaging in fishing and farming activities. Salinity intrusion makes it difficult to grow rice or vegetables which need freshwater, making fishing more popular in the coastal areas. The poor and landless work mainly as daily labourers, supporting these industries. Lack of livelihood options contribute to male out-migration in the area.
14.1In only two months of the year, the people of Deluti Union have access to drinking water and cultivable water. This pond, called ‘Padma Pukur’, is often the main source of drinking water for many households in Deluti Union. Women and girls are responsible for collecting water for their families, often traveling long distances from their homes. In the dry months when water is scarce, they travel longer distances.
2Consultations with the community results in the development of the five-year plan at the local level. This provides a good entry point for the integration of climate change considerations and actions identified in the Risk Reduction Plan. Men, women and all members of the community are consulted in the process.
17A result of an intensive household survey is the development of a database to support planning and decision making. Maintained by Deluti Union’s Information Centre, the database can support the targeting of specific households for support when needed. Elected Union Council members (elected representatives in the lowest rural administrative level) were strongly involved in the collection of information needed to develop the database.
4In designing climate-resilient infrastructure, women were consulted. The two schemes - strengthening the embankments of the ‘Padma Pukur’ and Women’s Centre - were aimed specifically for supporting women to reduce their risks. Designs considered the various needs of women, and the environment and cultural context of Deluti Union.
7Women and girls are responsible for collecting water for the family. A platform is built into the design of the ‘Padma Pukur’ with the objective of creating a space for women to catch some moments of respite in her busy day. This can also be a meeting space for women while collecting water, when she gets little time to meet others. Solar lamps placed along the adjacent street will reduce the risk of harassment in the evenings.
16.1Women will be trained on both on-farm and off-farm income generating activities, such as crab-farming and tailoring. Deluti Union has recognized the need for climate adaptive livelihood options, and additionally, the need to ensure women have access to various types of livelihoods. This has enabled the Union Council to budget training for women and men in their annual development plan.
6Salinity intrusion in water and soil makes it challenging to grow rice and crops in Deluti Union. The Union Council provided the space to demonstrate various innovative and climate adaptive livelihood options for its people, such as the instalment of a hydroponic system. Women receive training on how to use hydroponics to grow vegetables.
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