Bangladesh Environment and Development Society (BEDS) received the prestigious National Energy Globe Award 2018 for its outstanding achievement of the Eco-Village Project in Bangladesh. It is an initiative of BEDS and Korea Green Foundation (KGF) in Banishanta Union of Dacope Upazila under Khulna district in Bangladesh since 2015 to find effective solutions for local community.
Three components of the project include Green Housing, Green Education, and Green Business. All components are aiming to increase use of sustainable energy while conserving the mangrove ecosystem.
Under the Green Housing component, 4,594 people are the beneficiaries in Sundarbans coastal region of Banishanta Union of Dacope Upazila (adjacent of Mangrove Forest), are getting 12,000 litters/day safe drinking water through improving local water purifying technology named Solar Pond, Sand and Filter (SPSF). Fuel-efficient cooking stoves introduced among 300 households. 2,800 solar lamps, 1,700 solar panels and 504 solar home systems have been provided among 3,000 families. 11.2 kW/hour and 7.5 kW/hour solar stations have been installed at public institutions as a result almost 17 villages have been electrified by renewable energy. Communities have started a small business by using the electricity of the solar stations. Use of kerosene is almost stopped in the locality. Now students can read at night for a long time. To protect riverbanks from erosion 120,000 mangrove saplings have been planted.
Under the Green Education component, 4,050 students from 25 schools are getting environment, climate change education at schools and 300 villagers are learning the value of nature and emphasize the importance of Sundarbans mangrove ecology, environment-friendly farming and fishing through the constructed Green Education Center and developed innovative, interactive and pragmatic education materials.
Under the Green Business component, 90 local tour operators got training on Eco-tourism, 15 local people got the professional tour guides training and certified by the Bangladesh Tourism Board and Department of Forest, 60 families received training to promote local culture and heritage, and 15 women received handicraft training to make souvenirs from Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP). Trained people are earning by using their developed skill.
Our theme to establish an Eco Village model for solving the regional social and environmental problems by the local people without harming the ecosystem. So, initially, we addressed to solve major social and environmental problems through Green Housing, Green Education and Green Education. Secondly, we consider the sustainability of our intervention through management parts.
Adverse conditions and changes deserved by the community
The Sundarbans coastal region of Bangladesh is a disaster-prone area and the frontline of the global climate change. The Sundarbans is the UNESCO declared Natural World Heritage as well as RAMSAR wetland site which is known as the single largest Mangrove forest in the world. The Sundarbans mangrove flagship ecosystem is the natural safeguard and livelihood support for the 3.5 million climate vulnerable coastal people of Bangladesh. Hence, the coastal people lose their livelihood, source of drinking water, crops, livestock, farming land etc due to climate change impacts.
Solutions brought to action
The solution is to build an Eco-village to help protect the single largest mangrove forest in the world. Bangladesh Environment and Development Society has established a stable Eco-village as a model for sustainable development to improve sustainable management and operational capacity for Eco-villagers.
Innovations come from young minds
Eco-village is an ecosystem-based adaptation strategy which ensures sustainable management of natural resources and capacity building of the local community through innovative ideas. Through this project, electricity-deprived local communities have been electrified while fuel-efficient stoves have been distributed to reduce the use of wood fuel from mangroves.
Local technology has been improved and promoted to solve the drinking water scarcity of the Sundarbans community. Md. Maksudur Rahman, Chief executive of BEDS is an active member of YPARD Bangladesh working in environmental sustainability, wildlife protection and conservation, and disaster risk reduction since 2010. A group of youths, led by Mr. Rahman is taking action to establish this Eco-village model for regional and global perspective.
Photo credit: Md. Maksudur Rahman