LOOKING BACK FOR THE FUTURE

Today I read news on research on commitment to national development: education, decent employment, gender equality, conducted by the renowned think tank `Centre for Policy Dialogue – CPD’, published in the renowned and popular Bangla newspaper `the daily Prothom Alo’. The news, facts and awareness of people are totally frustrating. Thousands of NGOs have been working to create awareness of the people for claiming their rights for 50 years after the independence of the country, but the news put eyes on fruitless results, indicating that most of the citizens weren’t able to inform their demands or needs to the election candidates, but some able to speak with the local policy makers on the local problems directly.

Maybe there was something more in the research, but the news missed the major findings or grabbed only the minor news items, or provocative items for increasing popularity. The next parliamentary election will be held at the end of the following year and, obviously, we should talk about a free, fair and participatory election to strengthen democracy as well as establish the principles of our independence in 1971. But if we try to put all our focus only on the next election, it will be horrible and, unfortunately, the newspapers are showing more interest in the horrible approaches that should also be reviewed.

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LITERACY AND LEARNING: COVID-19 AWARENESS

COVID-19 Awareness: Challenges and How to address it

jalbayu Parishad

75 members of Jalbayu Parishad at Koyra, Shyamnagar and Gaibandha are mobilizing GO-NGOs and Private Sector to create mass awareness on COVID-19

climate volunteer

60 Youth Volunteers of Jalbayu Parishad are conducting community Monitoring at their own community to mitigate challenges and create mass awareness on COVID-19

YOU CAN JOIN AND ACT AT YOUR OWN COMMUNITY.

Get together

After a long time break, a few members of Online Knowledge Society convened at a online get together on 4th September 2020. The members who were youth volunteers of Online Knowledge Society during 2009-12, now they engages with different institutions and organisations. At 2009, there was a very limited internet facility to the common, but Online Knowledge Society took its volunteers in online and an online office was run to discuss daily updates. We used ning website when it was free. But later the website was charged, then we shifted to facebook and later in wordpress.

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Ninety Thousands families of flood prone region have been benefited directly

Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation – PKSF is going to implement a new project called ‘Extended Community Climate Change Project-Flood (ECCP-Flood)’ funded by Green Climate Fund (GCF). In the first phase of the project, 90,000 families in the five districts of Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Gaibandha and Jamalpur have been identified where many houses have been flooded. These families will be provided with high-rise houses, a tube-well for drinking pure water, goat rearing for employment and small vegetable gardens.

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NEWSLETTER

LEARN TO UNLEARN
NEWSLETTER

prodip k. roy blog post

Prodip K. Roy works as Coordinator of Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods – CSRL. He writes personal blog frequently to reflect his own observation and thoughts on different issues. Let’s read the blog……

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Government should respond immediately

The country had been facing severe floods in three times since 26 May, the longest period of flood in the history of Bangladesh. Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said, `1,026 unions in 160 upazila’s are still in flood-prone condition and 7 lakh 92 thousand 748 families of these unions are waterlogged, 49 lakh 52 thousand 438 people have been affected.”

The ongoing heavy raining has increased the suffering of flood prone people. The Meteorological Department said that moderate to heavy rains are likely in the south-western and south-central coastal areas of the country in the next 24 hours. Although the river water has not reached the danger level, the suffering of the flood-affected people is not decreasing due to heavy rains. But the flood situation could remain stable. The official of Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said the incidence of floods would ease after this week. But now the flood hit people are suffering in the rain.

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Silence must be heard

On the advice of the local MP and under the supervision of the Upazila Chairman, Union Chairman and other leaders, about 21,000 local people were able to stop the tidal water by constructing a ring embankment at Gobra Ghatakhali in Koyra after Amphan. Ring embankment of was built in the Lebubunia of Gabura Union of Shyamnagar also.
But today the tidal water is entering the locality again with cracks in 5 places of Ghatakhali embankment. The people of the village are running again with spades and pickaxes to prevent the breakage of the embankemnt.

If a small budget was allocated to the Union Parishads for the repair of the embankment every year, the Union Parishads and the local people could repair the embankment themselves and reduce the suffering of the people.
It is too late for us to reach a conclusion. It also increases the amount of damage. The shaky embankments need to be repaired immediately with a quick decision. Later, step-by-step construction of sustainable embankments and coastal boards may be decided.

Lebubunia, gabura, shyamnagar

Shyamnagar: Lebubunia, Gabura Embankment at risk, the tide water entering the locality
Courtesy: Photo taken from Shahin Billah.

  • It’s been three months since the super cyclone Amphan hit the coast. In these three months, the earth has rotated on its axis 90 times, orbiting the sun by a quarter, and many countries have returned to normal after overcoming the epidemic. But what about our coast? How are our people in this area? To understand that, the above pictures are enough, the people of the land coast have been living in the water like aquatic animals for three months.
    Shahin Billah, Volunteer, Jalbayu Parishad, Shyamnagar and also works with other network and media.

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Who are responsible…?

Even 89 days after Cyclone Amphan,
the village of Munda in Koyra, North Bedkashi, is still submerged.
Shadhona Munda from Munda village asked, who are responsible for this?

  • Munda community one of the ethnic minority `adibashi group’, lives in 30 villages in different upazilas of Khulna and Satkhira in Bangladesh. The community lives in the adjacent of the riverbank. near the Sundarban, the largest mangrove forest of the world. So, they have been facing a severe threats to livelihoods due to the long term effects of climate disaster, such as tropical cyclones, floods, salinity intrusion, famine and heat waves since long time ago. Due to severe disasters like cyclones, occurred every years with growing intensity and erosion of embankment, their lives and livelihoods make very hard. Read More>>>

The people of Uttar Bedkashi in Koyra upazila of Khulna district are still floating in the water after the cyclone Amphan occurred on 20 May 2020. They have no place to cook, no place to urinate, no place to sleep, people who have lost their livelihood have no dreams for the future. They are living for survival at any cost now. Silent howls floating in the air, do we hear? Read More>>> Do we hear silent cries …?


Responding against injustice

  • Gaibandha: A woman has given birth to her child on the streets after failing to get admitted to the Mother and Child Welfare Centre in Gaibandha. After the hospital reportedly refused the pregnant woman emergency medical assistance on Tuesday (11th August 2020) night, she went on to have her baby girl on DB road in Gaibandha town. 
    Later, the mother and her child were admitted to Gaibandha Sadar Hospital with the help of police, reports Bangla Tribune. According to the victim’s relatives, the woman in labour was rushed to the Mother and Child Welfare Centre when she started having contractions. Upon arrival, Selina Begum, an inspector at the clinic, told the pregnant woman to go elsewhere without any examination. 
    Despite repeated pleas, the woman was refused medical assistance and subsequently, the mother gave birth to her baby girl in an abandoned construction site on DB Road. After that, the mother and her child were admitted to Gaibandha Sadar Hospital with the help of locals and police.

Jalbayu Parishad, Nari Jote, Durbar Network and Nari Pakhha, leaded by Karmojibi Nari, Gaibandha have responded injustice today. Submitting a memorandum to district commissioner, Gaibandha, they have demanded to investigate the case and irregularity properly.

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Do we hear silent cries …?

North Bedkashi under Koyra Upazila of Khulna is floating in the water
Video taken by Shahin Billah

The people of Uttar Bedkashi in Koyra upazila of Khulna district are still floating in the water after the cyclone Amphan occurred on 20 May 2020. They have no place to cook, no place to urinate, no place to sleep, people who have lost their livelihood have no dreams for the future. They are living for survival at any cost now. Silent howls floating in the air, do we hear?

[Please read it in Bangla]

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Houses are disappearing in front of eye…

Although the flood situation in Gaibandha has improved and the water has started receding, there has been severe erosion in the Teesta and Brahmaputra. Anowar Hossain, a volunteer of Jalbayu Parishad, in English `Climate Council’, Gaibandha sent me a news article at the evening. It said, The erosion of Brahmaputra has taken a definite shape in Goghat area of Kamarjani Union in Gaibandha Sadar Upazila. People are moaning that house and homestead are disappearing in front of their eyes.
Already, the houses of hundreds of families have been washed away by the river. More than five hundred families are on the verge of river erosion. People in the affected areas are spending sleepless nights in panic. Many families who have become destitute after losing everything in the river are living in inhumane conditions by taking shelter in the local Union Health Center, Kalmu Government Primary School and Annamoyi Government Primary School.
Zakir Hossain, Chairman of Kamarjani Union Parishad said, the erosion of the Brahmaputra has started in Goghat area, the largest village in the union, since early July. But for 15 days this rupture has taken a definite shape. Already, the houses of 103 families, including the 250-year-old Durga temple and a 125-year-old draw-well have been swallowed in the Brahmaputra, have all been destroyed.

  • BRAHMAPUTRA FLOOD CONTROL EMBANKMENT

    About 218 km long embankment was contracted from Kaunia to Sirajganj during 1973-1986 to divert the water of the Brahmaputra and Teesta River by utilizing flood control and non-flowing water to protect 159,000 hectares crop land.
    The Brahmaputra flood control embankment is about six km from Gaibandha district town. The embankment extends north-south from Kaunia in Rangpur to Jumarbari in Saghata upazila of Gaibandha. About 96 km of the embankment is on the Gaibandha district. Of these, about 6 km of the embankment falls in Fulchhari upazila.

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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2020

The world has been celebrated the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August since 1994. Land grabbing is the major problems of Indigenous people of Bangladesh. The criminals have been grabbing their arable land, homes, ponds, graveyards, recrimination ground and land belonging to a temple, experts says. Different national and international NGOs, aid/development organizations, and state agencies in Bangladesh and abroad observe the day every year with a pledge to develop the indigenous peoples / adivasis of the world.

  • Bangladesh is home to about at least 45 different indigenous groups, in Bangla, adivasi groups like Chakma, Marma, Tripura and Santals (recognized by the government as ethnic minority groups only) in Bangladesh. The official figures of various ethnic minorities is about 3 million which is about 2% of the country’s total population.

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Flooding will rise up to 50 per cent by 2100

Future Extreme Sea Level Rise by 2100

Flooding will rise up to 50 per cent in the next 60 years due to climate chance, endangering millions of lives, a new research warns. Researchers say that would mean about 77 million more people will be at risk of experiencing flooding, a rise of 52 per cent to 225 million. The flooding risks costing the global economy $14.2trillion (£10.9 trillion) – 20 per cent of global GDP, according to the study. The analysis, led by scientists at the University of Melbourne in Australia and involving University of East Anglia (UEA) researchers, is based on a climate scenario where carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere continue to rise rapidly.

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Rights and Service should be coordinated…

The people, particularly the coastal is facing severe difficulties with drinking water. The women of the coastal region walk two or three miles to collect drinking water. The Jalbayu Parishad, in English Climate Council, a local civic organization in Koyra and Shyamnagar, has identified two major problems coastal region due to climate change, one Embankment and the other drinking water crisis. To bringing solution of these problems, the Climate Council has taken various types of advocacy approaches; they conducts lobby meeting with local public administration, local government representatives and policy makers to address the issue of coastal embankment and water, and has continued advocacy activities at national level. Climate Council and Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) have jointly convened a ‘Third National Climate Hearing’ in Dhaka in 2018, National Consultation Meeting in 2019, Memorandum Submission to the honorable Prime Minister by Union Council Chairman’s, holding press conferences, etc. to bringing a policy decision on these two issues.

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Employment generation in New Normal World

The invisible coronavirus has made a global as well as national crisis around the world. According to John Hopkins University, more than 18 million people have been infected with the coronavirus in the world so far, and 7, 69,428 people have lost their lives. 2 lakh 42 thousand 1 hundred and two people have been infected with corona in Bangladesh so far and 3 thousand 1 hundred 84 people have died.

The World Health Organization says we need to learn to live with the coronavirus. We have seen, 2 crore 84 lakh people from 61 lakh families lost their jobs during last 4 months alone. About 48.56 lakh people from 10.21 lakh families have been inundated by three floods last month. Last May, the super cyclone caused a loss of Tk. 11.5 billion which mostly for the common people.

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New Normal Life with COVID-19

The World Health Organization has predicted that that the effects of coronavirus will be felt for decades to come and urged everyone to learn to live the virus. Many people call it New Normal, which means we have to get used to New Normal.

  • What is New Normal?

    Now that many countries are easing their economic and social restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s a lot of talk about “the new normal”. As long as the world has not found a cure or a vaccine for Covid-19, we may have to adjust to a “new normal”, meaning a new way of living and going about our lives, work and interactions with other people. Many diseases caused by viruses have no cure to this day, not even the common cold. There are no vaccines for many viruses either. But we have learned to adapt our lifestyles to live with them.

But for those who have to struggle every day just to survive, neither New nor Old Life, nothing special to them. While the coronavirus has entered the world as invisible terror, the poor are still struggling in their daily lives. They have been forced to go out every day in search of work without health rules or health protocols.

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You can celebrate Eid, it is not for us – cyclone Amphan victim Manjila Khatun

`We can’t manage foods for daily lives, what is the Eid for us! Cyclone Amphan blew away the roofs, made by waved tin of our houses. Later, the embankment at Kurkahuniya of Kopotakkho River broke and washed out our houses at the river. Now we lived on the road with cows and goats. More than two months have passed. The tide is still flowing in our yards. No place to stay. I got some money in the month of Ramadan and made treatment of my sick husband with that. Nothing was gotten on the Eid-ul-Fitre. Not eaten properly. If food managed, then we eat together or we spend the days drinking only water. I don’t think anything will be gotten at Eid-ul-Azha. People are floating in the water. We have tried hard, but can’t repair the embankment. What is our Eid again? We have been floating in the water for so long, no one can come to see our sufferings. There is no place to go up for bathroom, waiting until evening to get it. You can celebrate Eid, it is not for us.’ Manjila Khatun (45) of Kurikahunia area of Pratapnagar in Asashuni started crying while saying these words. Not only Manjila, many families are in the same situation.

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10 lakh 21 thousand families were flooded

A total of 10 lakh 21 thousand 734 families in 31 districts have been inundated in Bangladesh due to the floods caused by the recent heavy rains and water flows of up steams.

According to the information received from the flood-hit district administrations till July 26, the number of flood-affected upazilas is 154 and the number of unions is 917. The number of waterlogged families is 10 lakh 21 thousand 734 and the number of affected people is 46 lakh 57 thousand 728 people.

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Why the slums are infected less?

There are about 1 lakh 65 thousand houses in a total of 3,394 slums in the two city corporations of Dhaka city, according to the slum census, conducted by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in 2014. According to the survey, about 6 lakh people lived in these slums at that time. Every year thousands of people comes to Dhaka for searching employment due to river erosion, natural calamities or just in search of work and lives in these slums. But the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics has not surveyed any slums in the last 8 years after 2014. So there is no way to say, how many people currently live in slums. It can be assumed that 8 to 10 lakhs.

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Plight of Commons during corona and disasters

Kabir Mia said, ‘What if a viral disease came, bahe, we not worth it. How many calls were coming in advance? I stay here in the morning, but it doesn’t work out. Nobody came to hire us. ‘Kabir Mia is a day laborer, lives in Darshana Bhurarhat in outskirts of Rangpur city. Every day he has cycled from there about six kilometers away to reach at Betpatti Charmatha junction in Rangpur city. As usual on 30th July 2020, he reaches there for searching works as a daily labour. Earlier at the normal time, the daily laborer has been hired in advance before the 9 am. But it is 10 am. Many of daily laborers like Kabir Mia gathers there in search of work. They have careful sights around the street. Whenever someone comes on a rickshaw or a motorcycle, they gather around him. But when they come to know that he does not come there to hire the labor, then their face becomes pale. This condition is called coronavirus.

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Climate change, natural disasters and poverty situations during the Corona period

People who lost their employment due to cyclones, floods and natural disasters come to Dhaka in search of work, but this year, people are leaving the capital city, Dhaka losing their means of income due to the invisible assassin, Corona. According to BIDS research, 13 percent of people have lost their means of income or employment during Corona time. It has been calculated that 2 crore 84 lakh people from 61 lakh families who have lost their jobs are in crisis of daily life including food and basic household expenses. According to Ahsan S. Mansoor, executive director of the Policy Research Institute, ‘4 to 5 crore people are not getting food regularly. About 1 crore 25 lakh people have become unemployed. Many have moved to the villages. Due to Corona, the poverty line has risen from 20 percent to 40 percent.’

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