CBA Bangladesh: Promoting Diversified Agro-Based Activities in Jamalpur District (RDOP)

Introduction

In the hilly areas of Bakshigani Upazila region, the Adibashi community faces increased heavy rainfall and more frequent droughts. The region’s traditional hillside farming technique, known as jhum cultivation, gradually deteriorates the hillside environment, thereby increasing the risks of flash floods and landslides. Projected climatic changes exacerbate this risk, reducing the amount of cultivable land and threatening livelihoods.

This Community-Based Adaptation project works to reduce land degradation and increase the adaptive capacity of seven vulnerable hill villages where the natural resource base is quickly depleting. Homestead-based mixed vegetable cultivation, fruit cultivation, fish production, and terracing techniques will be promoted as alternatives to jhum methods as a way to reverse land degradation and diversify income. Awareness activities will further enhance the community’s understanding of climate change, better equipping them to adapt to its impacts. 

This project is part of Bangladesh's Community-Based Adaptation portfolio. *

Project Details

The hilly terrain area surrounding the seven target villages in Dhanua Kamalpur union is prone to flash foods, soil erosion, landslides, moisture stress, and soil nutrient loss. Agricultural activities are the primary source of income for most community members, but the traditional jhum cultivation method gradually weakens the environment with heavy soil erosion and nutrient deficiencies. The viability of agricultural activities in the area is in jeopardy due to a deteriorating resource base from over-exploitation and climate impacts.

Changing water patterns accelerate the erosion process and reduce the amount of cultivable land in the foothills, thus restricting livelihoods. Due to the lack of arable land and vitamin-rich diets, malnutrition is common especially among women, young children and the elderly. To support households and maintain subsistence levels, both men and women seek work outside of the community and often migrate seasonally to find jobs. Without alternative livelihood practices, community members will likely become increasingly unable to support their households and maintain their way of life.

By using natural resources sustainably and protecting the resource base from gradual damage and degradation, this project (July 2011-December 2012) will support the continuation of traditional livelihoods. Alternatives to jhum cultivation, including mulching, terracing, and organic fertilizers, will be piloted and introduced to communities. Designated earth works projects in the region’s hills and waterways will provide both ecological restoration and a sustainable resource base for local populations to utilize in the future. Training and capacity-building activities will foster skills and knowledge for community members to utilize in their pursuit of stable, climate-adapted livelihoods.

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Farmers; Hillside Communities; Vulnerable Populations
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Research and Development Organization for the People (RDOP)
Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Government of Bangladesh
UK Department for International Development (DFID)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Location: 
Rural
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
$47,808
Co-Financing Total: 
Community BDT $7,973; Balujhuri Adibashi (Garo) Shonchoy O Rin Dan Bahumukhi Shomobay Shomiti Ltd BDT: $8,108

Key Results and Outputs

Outcome 1: Diversified food crops available for vulnerable populations in the target areas

Assimilate indigenous techniques and knowledge, and possibly modern technology, to promote improved and sustainable crop cultivation systems in the hills, foothills, and fallow land (Output 1.1). Test, develop, and promote mixed varieties farming systems for poor rural farmers (Output 1.2), including green vegetables, spices and local fruit varieties to reduce nutritional deficiencies (Output 1.3).

Outcome 2: Improved livelihoods along with improved natural resource management

Identify and excavate earth works projects, such as dikes and dives (Output 2.1), as well as small ponds and tanks for short-cycled fish culture (Output 2.2) to improve income and employment opportunities of participating household members during project period. Provide life skills training and input to member of select families for bamboo cane production, shop keeping, and poultry and livestock rearing (Output 2.3).

Outcome 3: Increased awareness and adaptive capacity in target region

Coordinate environmental protection and awareness programs, as well as earth works and tree planting projects, to lessen landslide and soil erosion problems (Output 3.1). Rehabilitate flood-prone water bodies and canals and repurpose them for diversified agricultural practices (Output 3.2). Train target beneficiaries on improved crop cultivation, homestead-based vegetable gardening, short-cycled fish culture, integrated rice fish culture, sand collection, and plantation/fuel wood collection (Output 3.3).

Reports and Publications

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation for community-based adaptation is a new field, and the CBA project is piloting innovative approaches to evaluating the success of locally-driven adaptation projects, and generating lessons to inform ongoing practice.

Key considerations in M&E for CBA include:

  • Grounding M&E in the local context: M&E for CBA should avoid overly rigid frameworks, recognizing community heterogeneity and maintaining local relevance
  • Capturing global lessons from local projects: CBA projects are highly contextualized, but lessons generated should be relevant to stakeholders globally
  • Incorporation of both quantitative and qualitative indicators: to ground projects in tangible changes that can be objectively evaluated, and to capture lessons and case studies for global dissemination

To these ends, the CBA project uses three indicator systems: the Vulnerability Reduction Assessment, the Small Grants Programme Impact Assessment System, and the UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Indicator Framework.

The Vulnerability Reduction Assessment (VRA)

The VRA is a question-based approach with the following aims:

  • To make M&E responsive to community priorities
  • To use M&E to make projects more accountable to local priorities
  • To make M&E capture community ideas and local knowledge
  • To gather community-level feedback to guide ongoing project management
  • To generate qualitative information
  • To capture lessons on specific issues within community-based adaptation
  • To generate case studies highlighting adaptation projects

The VRA follows UNDP's Adaptation Policy Framework, and is measured in a series of meetings with local community stakeholders. In these meetings, locally-tailored questions based on standard VRA questions/indicators are posed, and the community assigns a numerical score on a 1-10 scale for each question. Progress is evaluated through changes in scores over the course of implementation, as well as through qualitative data collected in community discussions surrounding the exercise.

UNDP has developed a Users Guide to the VRA (Espanol) (Francais) as a tool to assist practitioners to conceptualize and execute VRA measurements in the context of CBA projects.

The SGP Impact Assessment System (IAS)

The CBA, being a project of the GEF Strategic Priority on Adaptation, aims to increase the resilience of ecosystems and communities to the impacts of climate change, generating global environmental benefits, and increasing their resilience in the face of climate change impacts. To this end, the CBA projects use the SGP's impact assessment system for monitoring achievements in GEF focal areas (focusing primarily on biodiversity and sustainable land management).

The IAS is composed of a number of quantitative indicators which track biophysical ecosystem indicators, as well as policy impact, capacity development and awareness-building.

UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Indicator Framework

CBA projects also track quantitative indicators from UNDP's adaptation indicator framework, corresponding to the thematic area on natural resources management. More information on UNDP's indicator framework can be found on the UNDP climate change adaptation monitoring and evaluation website.

 

This description applies to all projects implemented through UNDP's Community-Based Adaptation programme. Specific details on this project's M&E will be included here as they become available. *

Contacts

RDOP
RDOP Organization Contact
UNDP
CBA Project Management Unit