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Bangladesh: Youth-Led Community-Based Climate Action Projects

By: Md. Masud Parvez Ove*

As technology advances, society is entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0. With this revolution comes a modernization of the world's farming systems. Bangladesh relies heavily on agriculture, contributing to 16.5% of the country's gross domestic product and being the largest employment sector. However, being the seventh most climate-vulnerable country in the world, Bangladesh is expected to experience negative impacts from climate change, such as sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, and increased extreme weather events. These factors will significantly impact agricultural production, leading to a potential world food crisis. As such, Bangladesh must implement climate-smart agroecology to mitigate these impacts and secure sustainable food security.

Climate-smart agriculture is an approach that aims to develop agricultural strategies that respond to climate change and sustain productivity while reducing greenhouse gases. Various initiatives are currently underway in Bangladesh to promote CSA. Bangladesh has a large youth population, and it has recognized the potential to involve them in CSA initiatives. As a result, the government and development organizations are introducing systems to include young people in CSA activities.

One such organization is the WAVE Foundation, a civil society organization facilitating young people from Bangladesh's climate-vulnerable communities. Under the project, Youth in Climate Action Promotion (YCAP), the organization encourages young people to undertake community-based climate action projects (CCAPs) to promote climate-smart agriculture. WAVE Foundation is implementing the project in partnership with the DHAN Foundation, India, following the same intervention to promote CSA in three vulnerable communities of Tamilnadu, India supported by The Norwegian Agecny for Exchnage Cooperation (Norec).

This initiative aims to empower youth in these communities to undertake youth-led, community-based climate actions that focus on adapting smart technologies and tools, mitigating the overall food crisis, and contributing to community-based climate adaptive measures.

WAVE Foundation has facilitated young people of several vulnerable communities from Patuakhali (saline intruded community), Barisal (coastal community), and Chuadanga (drought-prone community) to undertake community-based climate actions to promote climate-smart agriculture while providing them with participatory training that includes 21st-century skills, climate leadership skills, digital literacy, and climate-smart agriculture knowledge. The community youth groups have undertaken two climate action projects for each community.

These young people have been trying to bring changes to produce more crops, connect local government members and farmers, and initiate awareness campaigns while growing the community broader in their activities.

Six youth-led climate actions

Recently, youth-led community-based climate action projects (CCAP) have been taking place in Bangladesh. These projects aim to bring about new changes and create a new phase of smart agriculture in communities. Let's look at six such CCAPs that are significantly impacting their respective communities:

In Chuadanga, Climate Smart Agriculture-based CCAPs have been quite successful. In the Jibonnagar community, The young people have been running a full-fledged campaign using various creative strategies to raise awareness about smart agriculture under Youth Leadership in Smart Agriculture CCAP. For example, they have organized a roadshow filled with songs, quotes, and discussions involving stakeholders such as agriculture officers, farmers, and other relevant parties. In the Parkrsihnopur community, young people have performed street dramas and promoted youth involvement in smart agriculture to make their community climate-resilient. As a result, young people have become familiar with the community, and people now trust them with the responsibilities associated with smart agriculture.

In Barisal, the youth group has taken up the challenge of producing safe and climate-resilient crops in the community. In the Baishbari community, where it is hard to produce safe crops due to its proximity to the sea, the young group has organized a plan to promote safe crop production and save farmers' effort and money. Similarly, in the Krisnakati community, which is particularly climate-vulnerable, the youth group has decided to learn and spread the process of producing climate-resilient crops. They have organized farmers, provided orientation, and connected with agriculture officers to arrange training.

In Patuakhali, the young groups have taken up the challenge of promoting smart and disaster-resilient agriculture practices. In West Tangrakhali, they have organized several interventions following six distinct steps, including field surveys, meetings with agriculture officers, farmers' orientation, and training. They have also distributed leaflets and provided seeds to farmers to make demo plots. In East Tangrakhali, a disaster-prone area, the youth group has organized a plan to promote disaster-resilient agriculture by forming farmers' lists and providing training on disaster-resilient agriculture.

These youth-led CCAPs are making significant strides in promoting smart and climate-resilient agriculture practices in their communities. They are taking a holistic approach, involving various stakeholders, such as farmers, agriculture officers, and local government representatives, to achieve their goals. In addition, the youth have shown exceptional leadership skills in organizing and executing these CCAPs, which involve various activities such as street drama, musical sessions, and training.

As the world's population grows, we need to be conscious of our food production and security. Smart agriculture is a need of the hour, so we need to adopt a mechanized cultivation system. Youth involvement in this giant agroecology-building process will help improve food productivity by introducing climate-smart agriculture as an adaptive measure nationally. These youth-led CCAPs are an excellent example of how young people can contribute to building a sustainable future.


*Md. Masud Parvez Ove is Program Officer, Communications and Knowledge Management Division at WAVE Foundation


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