Looking Beyond Disaster, Bangladesh

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Gaia Education delivers vital training to flood-affected regions of Southern Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, and according to the IPCC is expected to become even more so as a result of climate change. Floods, cyclones, tornados, and riverbank erosion, often occurring simultaneously, have had an impact on the lives and livelihoods of people living in coastal areas such as the Khulna and Bagerhat Districts of Southern Bangladesh.

Gaia Education together with Bangladesh Association for Sustainable Development and CIFAL Scotland have recently conducted a series of Climate Change Awareness (CCA) seminars in this region as part of a three year project funded by the Scottish Government. The project aims to increase the resilience of vulnerable groups through scaling up of community-level adaptation, and livelihood diversification. It will also support activities such as the development of climate change resilient cropping and fisheries to ensure food security at household level.

Led by local trainers Salma Kanom, Richard Gomes and Bishnupada Mondal the workshops aimed to empower 66 leaders from 42 communities with climate change adaptation and disaster management techniques to better respond to the regional threats of climate change. Topics included drivers and impacts of climate change, early warning systems for disaster mitigation, disaster management and climate change adaptation strategies and techniques. Mongla district Chief Executive Muhammad Ali Prince presented the local government approaches for climate change mitigation and disaster preparedness.

At the end of the seminars, empowered participants developed personal plans to disseminate learning in their communities with one stating: "after the seminar, we are well prepared and better equipped to manage natural disasters".