Cyclones, floods, salinity intrusion, and riverbank erosion are severely affecting the livelihoods of poor households throughout the country. Helvetas is working along the coastal belts of the south-western parts of Bangladesh to build resilience and reduce the well-being loss of climate change-affected disadvantaged communities, particularly vulnerable women and youth.
The Southwest coastal region of Bangladesh is one of the country’s most disaster-prone areas, experiencing both slow and sudden-onset disasters. High vulnerability to climate change and human-made shocks and stresses leads to loss and damage of productive assets, crops, livestock, and infrastructure and contributes to water and food insecurity, and poverty. Lack of absorptive, adaptive, and transformative capacity to effectively respond ends up in displacements.
The Panii Jibon (“water is life") project supports climate-vulnerable communities, service providers and governmental institutions, to adapt and transform their capacities in food production and water management. It promotes the adoption of innovative technologies such as solar operated pond sand filter (PSF), rainwater harvesting tanks and river osmosis to ensure water rights and foster resilient livelihoods through strong market linkages.Climate change impacts are forcing an increasing number of people to migrate, therefore Helvetas supports safer migration and promotes a smart use of remittances as an adaptation strategy to diversify household income.Panii Jibon also empowers civil societies to advocate for accountable allocation of public resources to climate-resilient actions.
In previous phases (Phase-I: 2015-2017 and Phase-II: 2018-2020), Panii Jibon has worked to improve water security and livelihoods, promote safe migration and strengthen local governance structures. More than 100,000 people, particularly vulnerable women, and youths have increased their nutrition and food security, developed new skills, and improved their income through homestead gardening, fish farming, livestock, poultry. The project enhanced locally-led adaptation by ensuring community engagement and strengthening the accountability of local authorities and their capacity to deliver climate resilient services.
After the successful completion of two phases, Panii Jibon has initiated its third phase (2021-2023).
Whereas Phase 1 focused on innovation (learn about climate justice, trying out new technologies and community strategies) and Phase 2 on demonstration (what works and what does not, further develop effective strategies), Phase 3 is now focusing on advocacy and replication. Valuing the past experiences and apprising the successes on the ground can move all initiatives aligned with climate resilience forward for rolling out and scaling up.
Pani Jibon is implemented together with Development Organization of the Rural Poor (DORP) and Shushilan in Paikgasa , Koyra, and Morrelganj Upazila of Khulna and Bagerhat district. International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) is strategic partner.