Concern is sustainably transforming communities to cope with climate change in the Bay of Bengal.
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:
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.
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 common—and where the poorest and most vulnerable will continue to face the highest risk.