Paribartan

Along the Bay of Bengal, which spans the coasts of Bangladesh and India, poor communities struggle to cope with the impacts of climate change. Erratic weather patterns, unseasonal rainfall, rising temperatures, and increasing salinity from ocean waters rising into freshwater rivers, tributaries, and wetlands all plague the region. Pressures on water sources, agriculture, energy, and the region’s natural resources also have had a destabilizing impact on people’s livelihoods, homes, well-being, and their environment.

In the Bengali and Odia languages, paribartan means “transformation.” In the Bay of Bengal, that is just what Concern, working with local communities, aims to achieve.

Project Paribartan is helping over 1.2 million vulnerable people in 204 communities across Bangladesh and India become more resilient and adaptable to the challenges of climate change. By working hand in hand with communities to develop alternative livelihoods, grow climate-smart crops, prepare against future disasters, and rehabilitate degraded land, we are creating sustainable solutions to poverty while impacting positively on the environment. Multifaceted in its approach, Paribartan helps people improve their lives — and their environment:

  • Community-led committees empower men, women, and youth to fight climate-related crises  in their own villages by championing sustainable agriculture, designing disaster preparedness plans and early alert systems, and drawing up maps of their communities to identify areas, resources, and people endangered by extreme weather.
  • Composite agriculture  a “layered” method of farming that maximizes the full cultivation potential of a tract of land — helps improve food security and diversity by growing hardy, saline-tolerant crops while raising animals like ducks, chickens, shrimp, and fish.
  • Organic fertilizers and natural pesticides improve crop yields and nutrition while protecting the environment.
  • Rooftop rainwater harvesting systems provide communities with a safe, steady supply of water, which has become increasingly scarce as salt water from the rising ocean infiltrates freshwater rivers and ponds.
  • Structural reinforcements added to homes built along river shores or on ground prone to flooding have strengthened families’ homes against the effects of severe weather.
  • Fuel-efficient stoves provide better cooking surfaces and help reduce the rate of deforestation.
  • Mangrove plantations nurture local trees that will be planted to rehabilitate degraded land.
  • Paribartan Student Forums teach students about climate change risks and coping methods and training them to promote messages throughout their communities.
Lakhhi Munda searches the Sundarbans for fuel wood

Lakhi Munda rows everyday to the Sundarbans to search for leaves to feed her goats, and wood to use as fuel. She lives with her husband and in-laws by the Kopatakkha River, which is about to devour their homestead and arable land.

THE FOREST FOR THE TREES: SAVING TREES TO SAVE LIVES

Project Paribartan also helps improve the biodiversity of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest contiguous mangrove, that is home to the endangered royal Bengal tiger and other rare species. Through the Sundarbans Development and Alternative Resources Integration (SUNDARI) program, we work to reduce human pressures on the Sundarbans’s resources by developing alternative livelihoods opportunities and improving food security sustainably.

Empowering women is a key focus of these efforts, particularly “tiger widows” whose husbands have been killed by Bengal tigers and who often face stigma. Additionally, in mangrove nurseries, communities grow trees to help rehabilitate the wetland’s forest, which acts as a natural bio-shield against the strong winds and tidal surges of severe storms.

A GLOBAL WORLDVIEW

In addition to our local focus on helping individual communities, we look beyond Paribartan’s immediate program boundaries, expanding the reach of our work by sharing our experiences with peer organizations, institutional partners, and international government agencies to help improve policy-making decisions and coordination efforts.

Climate change knows no borders. The lessons we are learning provide insights and potential solutions for a future where extreme weather will become only more commonand where the poorest and most vulnerable will continue to face the highest risk.

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