“Community-based climate resilience programme in Bangladesh” is a development cooperation project run by Student Union of the University of Helsinki and Bangladesh Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK). In this column, we hear from our BARCIK colleagues about the results in the project area.
Text: Ershad Ali
Co-operation and photos: Tania Afrin
Barind Tract, the area where HYY and BARCIK’s development cooperation project is located, is known for its extreme temperatures. Crops burn under the blistering sun, and wild animals collapse when searching for drinking water during scorching heat of the noon.
Due to high temperatures, Barind Tract is naturally prone to drought. To make matters worse, human intervention in the area accelerates the drying of the area. Natural forests and wetland degrade due to ditching and pond-digging.
The senior citizens of the area can still recall the times when Barind Tract was rich in plants, species and human diversity. Through their experience, they have extremely valuable information on the traditional, more sustainable ways of living. And luckily, the new generation is eager to know more about the history of the diverse area. They want to be active in the combat against climate change and raise their voice to revive the lost culture, tradition, and diversity of the area. To support the intergenerational education, came the idea of a community climate school.
Community school – or pathshala in Bengali – is a place where a person or a group can educate the rest of the participants on an issue on which they have special knowledge. In climate-oriented community school, the lectures are focused on climate change, biodiversity, nature and environment. The main idea is that everybody has important knowledge, and everybody can learn something from other people. Farmers can speak about their experience and success in agriculture, whereas a senior citizen can share valuable information about the history and tradition of the area. A researcher can explain the outputs of a scientific research, a woman can take a look in various issues from a gendered perspective, a young person can share their thoughts on the present and future, and so on.
Through climate community school, especially young people can learn about the rich history, culture, and tradition of the area. They can educate themselves about the causes of the problems: why the rich cultures and traditions have been lost, why the climate is changing, and most importantly, how to adapt to the changes, mitigate the adverse effects and prepare for natural disasters. An educated young person is motivated to act responsibly in the society and to take initiative in environment-friendly activities and in solving the problems of the area. This way, the youth contribute to building progress and prosperous society and state.
With the support from BARCIK through this project, the new generation can receive essential education on the diverse issues of Barind Tract. We are happy to see that Tanore, Poba, Godagari, Nachol, Rajshahi, and Noagona – all districts in Barind Tract area – have facilitated different activities for more a sustainable future.
What are Student Union of the University of Helsinki and BARCIK doing in Bangladesh? Read more about the project here.