Bangladesh Fellowship Project

Empowering Young Women Through Climate Smart Small Scale Farming

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If you would like to donate to Mukta’s project in Bangladesh, email her directly to make arrangements: mukta@350pdx.org

About Bangladesh

collecting-drinking-water-flood_06Bangladesh is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world. The adverse impacts of climate change have already hit the every aspect of life and livelihood. The country is mainly low elevated, so sea level rise has become a severe threat to the country. Research says that if the sea level rises by 1 meter, 35% of total area of coastal zone of Bangladesh will be submerged under the sea and there would be 15-20 million climate refugees. According to the latest NOAA research, we can expect a 1 meter sea level rise by 2035.

The consequence of climate change has already affected the sources of fresh water with salt water. The effects are dramatic and devastating. Extreme weather events are having major impacts on social, agriculture, environment, food security and economic development. On the other hand, the country is not capable enough to take any smart policy to overcome the climate hazards, as it has very limited resources. Moreover, climate change has been increasing poverty. Hence, in every way, youth and women (more than 50% of total population) are prominent as the most vulnerable groups in the society. In Bangladesh, the southern part has become visible as the frontier of the worst impacts of climate.

water-contaminated-by-saline-waterIt is common for families in that area to depend on women and children for collecting fresh water for drinking, household and growing food through small scale farming. It takes, on average, 4 hours per day to collect water, because the sources of fresh water are far away from where people live. As a result, school dropout is frequent in rural area. Another major phenomenon is poverty. Though some families allow the young women to continue study, existing poverty plays a vital role here preventing them from going school and increasing the pace of early marriage.

To fight against the poverty and adopt the climate change strategy, young women need to be empowered through capacity building on education and develop ownership as young entrepreneurs. Hence, gardening through using rain water could be a significant initiative to free up their time, and empower them financially, which further facilitates them to continue school as well as act as a change agent for their community.