Annual Report

Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP)

DCPUK has been implementing the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP) which is jointly funded by UKaid through the Department for International Development and the Australian Government (AusAID). DCPUK started to implement this programme from July, 2011 at 3 villages namely Rahamater Char, Char Rahmat and Char Tambul pur of Tambulpur union and from July, 2012 it has been implementing this programme at 6 villages namely Gabura -1, Gabura -02,  Juyan, Haguria hashim, Daulat kha and Ramsing  of Sawla union under Pirgacha upazila  of Rangpur district. The program has diversified component and it will no doubt create avenue of new opportunities for DCPUK.

Objectives:

To improve the livelihoods, incomes and food security of extremely poor and vulnerable women, children and men living on riverine islands chars of northwestern Bangladesh.

Main activities of programme :

Infrastructure development and employment creation, Awareness building on social development, community development through the participation of community people, community led total sanitation, Primary Health Care and Family planning, Awareness raising on nutrition education, Community led savings activities and making habit on savings, Asset transfer and make it productive, Alternative IGA and employment creation, Home gardening, Training on agricultural production & livestock rearing, Market development on Milk, Poultry and Fodder.

In addition to an increased asset base, which can serve as a form of savings, char families can also develop regular income streams from the sale of livestock products such as poultry and eggs, milk and manure. Many CPHHs become successful cattle rearers and the CLP has found that income from sale of cattle was primarily reinvested in more cattle and land. Women are chosen as the recipients of assets as part of the CLP’s work to empower women, and in recognition that women are often amongst the most vulnerable members of the community. 99% of participants choose cattle as their initial asset, but households do invest in other assets such as smaller livestock, land, small businesses and rickshaws.

Supporting Assets in the Community

The CLP’s role is not restricted to simply providing the initial asset. The CLP’s package of support also includes veterinary support and training (in livestock husbandry, for example), and a stipend is provided over 18 months to offset the need to sell assets during crises and support the development of assets until they become productive and generate economic return.

Skilled agricultural and veterinary support is needed to ensure that assets remain healthy and productive. However, due to the remoteness of the chars, government and private sector services are frequently lacking. To improve supply of such services the CLP trains LSPs to provide artificial insemination, vaccination, de worming and primary treatment to livestock for all char households (CPHH and non-CPHH). Meanwhile, CPHHs receive vouchers for LSP services for a limited period, helping to stimulate demand. The CLP is currently developing an Agricultural Services Providers project, based on the LSP model, which will train local people to provide relevant services in the arable sector.

Asset transfer takes place after the annual flood period to reduce risk of diseases like foot-and-mouth disease.

Social Development Group Meetings

Group meetings are the core of the social development project. CLP participants form groups of 18-25 women, and meet weekly for 18 months to learn about topics such as: health and hygiene; family planning; civil rights and responsibilities; disaster preparedness and savings and loans. These meetings give women the opportunity to discuss sensitive issues such as domestic violence, early marriage and dowry. Social safety nets are also established within the groups, where women give money or food to more vulnerable community members. The CLP facilitates the meetings and uses a variety of communication methods to improve engagement and overcome high levels of illiteracy on the chars.

Influential Persons

The project also engages people in influential positions (such as local religious leaders) that can act as change agents in the community. A two-day residential course is offered covering topics such as conflict resolution, dealing with discrimination, stopping early marriage and dowry.

Community Melas

Melas, or community fairs, are used as a tool to engage wider sections of the community. Melas are often organised by the CLP to raise awareness of important issues such as dowry or domestic violence. A variety of methods are used to engage and involve the community, such as issue-based drama, folk songs and storytelling.

 

Village Development Committees

Village development committees are formed with the aim of improving social cohesion and lobbying local government for better service provision. Each committee is formed of 11 members (CPHH & non-CPHH), selected by the community and including at least two women. An initial three-day residential course covers topics such as leadership and conflict resolution. Thereafter, the committee meets monthly to set an agenda.

Adolescent Groups

The aim of these groups is to provide advice to adolescents on sensitive topics such as puberty, personal health & hygiene, reproductive health and marriage, as well as building leadership capacity and awareness of the rights and responsibilities of citizens. These groups are comprised of adolescents aged 13-19 (CPHH and non-CPHH), and begin with a two-day residential course. Thereafter, groups meet every three months.

Couples’ Orientation

This day-long course aims to build awareness within CPHH couples of issues such as gender division of labour and family planning. Key aims are to generate support amongst men for the empowerment of women and encourage joint decision making within the household.

Men’s Training

In order to build awareness of gender discrimination and increase participation of men in social change, the CLP offers a one-day course on these topics, open to all male adults in the community.

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