Cultivation of crops is almost absent in the South Western coastal region of Bangladesh, where shrimp farming has been dominant since the mid-eighties. Salinity intrusion into agricultural land is increasing because of sea level rise due to climate change. Thus the practice of agriculture has been almost stopped in the coastal areas except for shrimp farming.
The introduction of cropping on the dyke of shrimp gher has been an important innovation by Practical Action, although it was practiced a while back. However, dyke cropping was neither very common, nor systematic. Practical Action, Bangladesh, under its Climate Change Programme in the South Western Coastal District Satkhira demonstrated some livelihoods technologies including Dyke Cropping following an improved method.
Mr. Zillur Rahman (35) of Kalikapur village, a small holder demonstrated vegetable cultivation on the dyke of his shrimp farm. He had prior experiences of dyke cropping. In October-December 2011, he did ‘dyke cropping’ with Practical Action’s technical support on 4 dykes of different lengths (25-30 to 130 feet). The dyke’s width was 3 feet and height above the flood water level.
Rahman cultivated vegetables on the dykes in winter (October-December 2011) and during the monsoon (May-September 2012). The vegetables he grew included pumpkin, water gourd, chalkumra, cumcumber and carrala in the winter season and pumpkin, water gourd, chalkumra, cumcumber, carrala along with jhinge, chichinga, dhundal, papaw, ladies fingers, brinjal and puishak in the monsoon. Monsoon cropping required no irrigation as there was sufficient rain, while, drip irrigation technology was used for winter cropping in the pits made on dykes. The size of pit differed for each vegetable (50x50x50 to 80x80x80 centimeter). Both organic and inorganic fertilizer in appropriate doses was used in the pits for vegetable cultivation. The dyke cropping helps to maximise land use, promoting food security and reducing dependency on shrimp farming.
Technological differences were significant between the earlier and later project. Better dyke design was introduced with adequate height and width than earlier. In the improved system, organic fertilizer use was predominant, however, in-organic fertilizer use was also used in appropriate doses; machan on dyke prepared with branches of trees earlier, but, bamboo/wooden pole and net were used in the improved system. The cost of machan more than doubled and survived 4 years instead of 1 year for the conventional one.
Rahman harvested a total of 182kgs of vegetables in winter and sold at an average market price Tk.15/kg. He harvested a good amount of vegetables (181 Kgs.) by mid-September 2012 and sold at a market price of Tk.16/kg in the monsoon. He expected further 111kgs (approx) up to December 2012 and could sell thse at Tk.15/kg.
In the improved system, he harvested 2.5 times more compared to earlier practice. The dyke cropping could suitably be expanded and replicated, where vegetable production is almost absent or very poor due to salinity increase, which, could benefit the shrimp farmers by bringing extra income along with household consumption.No Comments » | Add your comment
Is your boss not satisfied with our work? What do you expect then? A pink slip? – It makes sense and is perfectly logical! After all, you are hired to meet the expectations of the organisation. However, as a fundraising professional, I have realised that– at the end of the day, there is the only one boss – “The DONOR”!.
I recently participated in a week-long certificate course in fundraising and communications in New Delhi, India. I have always been keen on tapping funds from institutions, trusts, foundations and corporate houses. I was quite determined that my efforts/interactions/discussions during the training will mainly be in this line.
On the very first day, the resource person somehow tried to give us an impression – “fundraising is all about individuals”. I had a reservation, and I was rather convinced that funding has to do a lot more than an individual. As the days passed, we discussed differently on direct mails, cold calls, donor acquisition and retention, and so on. At times, I felt that it was a complete waste of time; the whole discussion each day ended with a conclusion – “It is actually about an individual”.
During a practical session on telefacing, a pretty lady was on the phone talking to a stranger. She talked for about four minutes including her introduction, the cause for the call and the conclusion. I had an impression that the person on the other side gave her an appointment for the meeting. She put down the phone with a cheerful smile on her face. At the end, it is the impression you leave on a stranger. I thought about it over the night and was convinced that fundraising is not possible in isolation. First, it was a cold call that ended up with an appointment, which could turn into a request for a concept note and subsequently a full proposal. No matter how big or small the amount we are proposing, this is exactly the way it works. So, is it all about an individual?
I wrote a case for support, a capacity statement, appeals and many more. I featured Practical Action’s energy and DRR works, because then I could showcase my project to be the most urgent of all. The question was again, why the projects should be considered urgent to receive funding? I remember many projects I have been involved in which were not as urgent as the others, but they were funded. The answer is – the case I proposed was actually URGENT for somebody at the donor organisation. I again took my stand, it is not about “Somebody” who decides; It is about the whole organisation! But remember, evaluation committee in each donor organisation is comprised of a group of individuals. We need to win their heart, soul and mind! It is them who make decision on whether or not to support our project – be it a 2000 worth activity or a multi-million multifaceted project. So, am I convinced that it is all about an individual? Somehow, yes!
Each evening, I analysed what I am doing, and what is my job. I assure quality of donor reports, communicate with them, accompany them to the project sites and make sure they are HAPPY! I swallow all the guidelines on donor call for proposals, and make sure that our proposals meet their needs and criteria. I follow my donors on Twitter, regularly check their sites and update myself on recent happenings. I greet them on their special days, I participate in events/functions mainly because I could talk to them. Every second, I am trying to be nice with them, become conscious on what I communicate, and gently/visibly/widely acknowledge them in every possible activity. What for? Because, I want them to be happy with my organisation and its works. And always, a donor is an individual – to impress whom, we put all our efforts. Having realised all these, what do you think? I strongly believe – “Fundraising is all about an individual”, and a donor in whatever form, ultimately is an individual!
I don’t want to get fired and become unwanted; each moment I have this strong desire to please my boss; Yes, the only boss that I have – “The DONOR”!4 Comments » | Add your comment
Jeremy Leggett, ‘social entrepreneur’ and founder of SolarAid and SunnyMoney, alerted me to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph newspaper here in the UK. The full article can be see here but, in short, the piece suggests that the oil industry is the new great ‘sub prime’ investment of the current economic cycle, replacing the US housing market which, you will remember, triggered a global recession in 2008. Investment is pouring into exploration in oil shales and deep fields in the Arctic and elsewhere, but these investments are not yet returning any cash and, indeed, require higher oil prices to deliver a real profit.
Whilst gambling on higher oil prices might have seemed a fairly safe bet a few years ago, there are now two potentially significant threats to making money out of oil. Firstly, if a global deal is eventually done to maintain atmospheric carbon levels at 450 ppm then, according to the International Energy Agency, two thirds of the oil reserves that oil companies currently have on their books will have to stay in the ground, unburnt, as ‘stranded’ (i.e. unusable) assets. This means the book value of the oil industry is vastly overstated and we can expect to see a mass withdrawal of funds, or a demand for profits to be paid out as dividends rather than re-invested in more drilling, as this eventually becomes clear to the big institutional investors.
Secondly, the article notes that “staggering gains in solar power – and soon battery storage as well – threatens to undercut the oil industry with lightning speed”. The author (the Daily Telegraph’s International Business Editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard) goes on to note that photovoltaic energy already competes with fossil fuels in much of Asia without subsidy and that “once the crossover point is reached……it must surely turn into a stampede”, predicting that the energy landscape “will already look radically different in the early 2020’s”.
For this sort of article to be penned by the business editor of the Telegraph, a newspaper associated with the British establishment and business, is, as Jeremy remarks, truly momentous. The world’s current addiction to a fossil fuel based economy represents a massive inter-generational technology injustice – with the choice to use carbon emitting technologies by this generation having potentially profound negative consequences for future ones.
One can only hope that the Telegraph’s analysis is correct in this instance and that we are, indeed, seeing the beginning of the end of the age of oil.No Comments » | Add your comment
I’ve just sent the final report to the innocent foundation on Practical Action’s cloud forest project, ‘New Life to the Forests, New Life for the Amazonian People in Peru and Bolivia’. Really hope they like the report, but more importantly I’m sure they will be as proud as we are of the incredible impact that the partnership between Practical Action and the innocent foundation, together with fellow funders of the project, the Waterloo Foundation and Z Zurich Foundation, has achieved over the last three years for communities living the tropical forests of the Amazon.
If you watched, ‘I bought a rainforest’ on the UK’s BBC tv over the last three weeks, by the film director, Gavin Searle, which follows the journey of Charlie Hamilton James when he bought 100 acres of Peruvian rainforest, you will have seen the kind of challenges he experienced if he was to preserve his purchase from being felled. By living and working with the local people he begins to realise that the way to help protect the forest is not just to buy it, but to engage with the people living in it, and to work with them rather than against them. Just the way that Practical Action has been working with the indigenous Awajun and settler families in Bolivia and Peru – working with them to better manage the cloud forests sustainably so that they, and generations to come, can make a living without removing majestic trees such as the mahogany, without growing crops and then leaving the land degraded and without having to resort to livelihoods such as illegal logging and mining, which destroy not preserve one of the riches ecosystems in the world, home to amazing flora and fauna and to more than 3.5million native and migrant people.
We set out to work directly with almost 1,500 people living and working in the forest, and to indirectly help a further 20,000 people, through sharing lessons and good practice. At the end of the three years, we have improved the livelihoods and lives of not only the families we worked directly with, but have improved the quality of life for at least a further 63,000 men, women and children. Equally importantly, the communities, with the Foundations’ and Practical Action’s support, have begun to rebuild the forest, and to build a better future for their children, by planting over 105,000 indigenous trees, trees that will bring shade to their crops and will capture over 630,000mt of CO2 . With skills and knowledge now in place, with the Government supporting the work being carried out, this not the end of the project, but the beginning of a new life for the forests, a new life for the Amazonian people in Peru and Bolivia.
Practical Action is keen to talk to Trusts and Foundations who would like to support our work in energy, access to markets, disaster risk reduction and urban water and sanitation. Visit our dedicated Trusts and Foundations site for more information: http://practicalaction.org/trusts-and-foundations1 Comment » | Add your comment
“A private sector committed to Disaster Risk Reduction can steer public demand towards materials, systems and technological solutions to build and run resilient communities”. 5th Global Assessment Report, UNISDR
The critical role of the markets and the private sector for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and resilience building has been widely recognized during implementation of the first Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005 – 2015. Despite the development community’s focus on the impact of overseas aid, the vast majority of investment in developing countries, 70-85% (UNISDR 2013) comes from the private sector. This investment is targeted around business plans which are shaped by markets at local and macro-economic levels. Today most communities are dependent on markets for the provision of their food, utilities, shelter, for the sale of their products, for agricultural inputs and for employment. Markets also define the delivery of key services, especially healthcare, extra curricula education and care services. Markets contribute significantly to the livelihoods of people, especially the most vulnerable, and their failure when a disaster strikes can have critical impacts on those people who are least able to cope. Although markets engage with people at the local level we must not forget that these markets are connected to national and global market systems which influence their behaviour. Therefore we need to look at the role of the private sector and of markets in particular to identify ways that they can contribute to building the resilience of the poorest and most vulnerable, with the objective of not leaving anyone behind.
Participatory Market System Development (PMSD) is Practical Action’s approach to inclusive markets that reduce poverty and protect the environment. Markets, can act as a powerful platform to give marginalised people in developing countries, and those who provide services to them, access to valuable networks, technologies, experiences and assets that can help them work their way out of poverty. Using the PMSD approach, Practical Action is interested to explore the incentives and market mechanisms to create the conditions for investment decisions to be made that build resilience and reduce disaster and climate risk. We need to explore ways to help the private sector be more accountable for disaster risk reduction and resilience building, so that when disasters occur (which directly or indirectly affect their investments) the most vulnerable are not disproportionately affected, do not suffer unfairly and benefit from having a more resilient supply chain. With the private sector contributing some 70–85% of investment at the local level, markets and the decision made to support them have far reaching consequences on risk accumulation and on the underlying risk drivers, thus it is important to understand their potential to exacerbate and/or reduce risk. The ultimate goal of DRR is to reduce or ultimately avoid the shocks and losses due to disasters through increasing the resilience of society, this could only be achieved when all the actors, including the private sector and the markets in which they operate, are themselves resilient (a win-win scenario).
Practical Action also has expertise and credibility around a PMSD tool, the Emergency Markets Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) toolkit, which has helped numerous humanitarian agencies ensure that their relief and response efforts are considerate of markets. But EMMA is a post disaster response tool, what is needed is a pre disaster assessment mechanism to ensure that we are reducing and avoiding those risks to which we know the market is vulnerable.
As part of our DRR programme, Practical Action will be attempting to tackle the question. “What can we do to support markets actors to strengthen market systems to the natural hazards they face, so that when a disaster occurs the poorest and most vulnerable do not suffer?” Some of the critical dimensions to this question are outlined in the diagram below.
To explore this issue, Practical Action will use the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework to examine the five capitals; Human, Social, Physical, Environmental and Economic to identify the key combination of factors that contribute to resilience. For each factor we will measure the following key dimensions of resilience: Robustness, how resistant are assets to shock?, Rapidity, how fast are assets able to respond to shocks when they strike?, Redundancy, the degree of slack or excess capacity in the process?, and Resourcefulness, the capacity to innovate among/between assets available? By systematically exploring the DRR and Markets question and capturing the lessons learned Practical Action will contribute knowledge and key influencing to the negotiations for a successor agreement to the Hyogo Framework of Action. By integrating the resilience building potential of markets and the private sector in the new Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA2 or HRA+) we have the potential to drive change at global scales.
I love trees and we are all well aware of how important they are for the health of our planet. So yesterday, I was fascinated to meet a dendrochronologist for the first time. Dr Aster Gebrekirstos is a scientist at Erlanger University and the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi and is a specialist at interpreting climate fluctuations of the past through tree rings.
Dr Gebrekirstos was one of two inspiring winners of the AfriCAN climate research award, which promotes the role of women in climate change research in Africa.
Her research involves measuring the spaces between the rings of trees (cut down after they are dead) which indicate the amount of growth each year. These show narrower rings relating to periods of drought. Analysis of oxygen isotopes in trees shows their different reaction to carbon when under stress.
It is vital that we are able to make informed decisions in our efforts at adaptation and mitigation of climate change. Currently there is little data available relating to historic climate fluctuations in Africa, but the efforts of Dr Gebrekirstos will play a key role in supplying this valuable information.
This research will enable tree species that are most resilient to climate change to be identified and to ensure that the right trees are planted in the right place. This is just one of the many aspects of Climate Smart Agriculture addressed by this week’s AfriCAN climate/FANRPAN conference in Pretoria.2 Comments » | Add your comment
If you were to rank countries in terms of their carbon emissions, where do you think Britain and Sudan would come?
The answer is we would come 10th and Sudan (including both Sudan and South Sudan) would come 91st. In the UK we produce 8.5 tonnes of carbon per person, Sudan just 0.3. I was therefore shocked when I read some of the comments readers left about a Guardian article on our work in Sudan, written by our own Mary Gallagher. The article talked about women, our LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) clean cooking project in Darfur and how we are using carbon financing to help scale it up.
Some readers questioned whether the work is environmentally friendly – others, much more worrying to me, whether in a carbon constrained world these women should be allowed to use up precious carbon – or should be forced through lack of other options to continue to use wood as fuel.
I visited this project in 2009 when the work on LPG was just starting. I am tempted to write THIS IS DARFUR and ask you to imagine what it was like. In reality there was very little water and for poor people little food. The conflict meant that every time a woman left her village she faced the threat of attack. Due to deforestation there were few trees and women had to walk huge distances to collect firewood.
One woman I spoke with talked about the pain in her neck of carrying heavy burdens and then placed her hands over her heart and talked about the pain she felt there too (literally not figuratively). Beyond the drudgery, the possibility of assault and rape there were also issues with burning precious wood. Basically the smoke from the cooking fires can kill you –4 million people a year die as a result of indoor air pollution. You die from cancer, from chronic pulmonary disease, etc. Young children (carried on their mums back or kept inside for safety) are particularly vulnerable.
I care hugely about climate change but if I was to suggest who should make sacrifices to protect our planet. I wouldn’t start with these women.
As the project progressed, word of its impact spread from woman to woman. The stoves also started to appeal to women who were just unable to collect fire wood and so were burning charcoal. Practical Action realised that there were opportunities for different forms of financing. As I said before, working for Practical Action, I wouldn’t say that these women have no right to use up some carbon – when we in richer nations use so much. But carbon financing offered a great opportunity to reach out to more women and to help them and their families. Because of positive benefits for the environment – cooking with charcoal uses twice as much carbon as cooking with LPG and the move away from wood fuel allows for the possibility of the forests starting to recover and because of the strength and determination of the women the project is flourishing.
Reading the comments on The Guardian website, I remembered the women I met, I was also very aware that I drive a car and have a gas cooker. I wondered about the carbon usage of those people who had commented negatively – how many times the carbon usage of a woman in Darfur?
But above all as I wrote in my comment on The Guardian website – in a very sad week in the news I wanted above all to encourage people to rejoice – we have so little good news in our world – this truly is a positive story.
If you would like to know more , hear one persons story, get a sense of how we are scaling up this work or even donate http://practicalaction.org/nafisa2 Comments » | Add your comment
I went to a Castle Debate on climate change earlier this month. It wasn’t – fortunately – a debate but a briefing. It was realistic, and therefore depressing.
The consensus, based on the latest IPCC report and work by PWC, was that though it’s still POSSIBLE to keep the temperature rise below two degrees it’s likely to be four degrees. That’s not really ‘four degrees’. We’re on track for four degrees by 2100 with substantial increases thereafter. And, given the uncertainties, a likelihood of four degrees means means the possibility of five, maybe more, even by 2100.The first speaker, Dr Celine Herweijer of PWC, presented these facts and the IPCC view on impacts – falling food production, dying coral reefs, loss of summer sea ice from the Arctic. In fact the usual stuff. She also drew attention to the UK’s vulnerabilities – we import 40% of our food and our 350 largest public companies own overseas assets worth £10T (that’s £10,000,000,000,000) many of which are vulnerable to climate change.
The most vulnerable sectors include energy, mining, utilities and manufacturing.Next up was Anthony Hobley of Carbon Tracker. Hobley acknowledged the science and mentioned that whole civilisations can fail. It’s happened repeatedly in the past though never globally. Of course, ours is the first global civilisation so that qualification is not entirely encouraging. These failures often followed environmental changes and the ruling elites failed to respond because their wealth shielded them from the impacts of those changes until it was too late to act. Hobley did not make the obvious connections but I will:
- Climate change has increased in parallel with increasing inequality.
- The super-rich are increasingly powerful and increasingly isolated from the problems that beset the rest of us.
- London’s economy is increasingly dependent on the richest 1%.
- Some of them use their wealth to stop governments addressing the problems.
- Therefore, a sharp reduction in economic inequality is an essential step in addressing climate change.
But back to the meeting! Hobley tried hard to be encouraging about the prospects for the 2015 UN Climate Change conference in Paris which he clearly regarded as our last hope. However he struggled to be optimistic and implied that the most plausible success scenario was a global crash programme that he called the Lastminute scenario. This is similar to my Emergency Braking scenario.
The final speaker was Lord Krebs of Wytham. As Chair of the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change he was very well qualified to explain his committee’s thinking and recommendations. In short, last year’s National Adaptation Programme was based on climate projections made in 2012. These projections included rising temperatures and sea levels, drier summers, wetter winters and more extreme weather events. Specifically they expect 1 in 100 year events to occur every ten years.
So a science-based plan?
Actually no. In answer to a question from me Krebs explained that the projections were based on two degrees of warming “because that is the government’s target”. He accepted that this approach is inadequate and would need to be revised (though I didn’t get much sense of urgency from his remarks).
I will go further. The current National Adaptation Programme is essentially dishonest because it implies that it is appropriate to the actual threats. Only a programme based on the most likely projection – four degrees by 2100 – can be honest. And, given the uncertainties, an honest programme must at least consider the possibility that things will be worse.
First published on the Climate Cassandra blogNo Comments » | Add your comment
Our world leaders are working towards action on climate change – not a grand top down plan but a bottom up approach whereby all countries will set out their intended national contributions on the basis of what’s fair and equitable. The contributions are then pulled together to form the agreement. The intention is that this treaty will be agreed and signed at a meeting in Paris at the end of 2015.
Should we be worried about this? I think so – let me explain why
1. My action’s bigger than your action!
Have you noticed that governments have a tendency to talk up commitments but somehow when it comes to delivery everything is smaller or somehow more difficult? One current example –where there has been confusion at least over funding – is the Green Climate Fund. It’s a UNFCCC flagship programme intended by 2020 to provide by $100 billion a year to assist developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change. It started operations this year after three years of planning but so far has been mired in debate about the level of finance to be provided by governments and what can be provided by the private sector. Currently only a fraction of this sum has been pledged so far, mostly to cover start-up costs’ according to Climate Finance and Markets
Today 49 less developed countries (LDCs) are calling for the process towards the Paris meeting to be speeded up. They worry that looking at all the commitments as a whole it just won’t be enough to deliver a maximum 2 degree average temperature rise, protect vulnerable countries like Bangladesh and/or that the timetable will be so elongated that by the time all of the pledges are in there won’t be sufficient time to work out if what’s proposed is enough.
3. What about the poorest and most marginalized people?
Keeping average global temperature rises to 2 degrees will now require urgent and transformational action. However even if we do managed to contain warming the impacts on poor people often living in the poorest and most marginal areas will still be significant. Their voices and needs are not sufficiently heard and represented in the climate change processes. Read our East Africa director, Grace Mukasa’s blog where she talks about the current unreported drought in Kenya.
4. Why now?
Today and tomorrow we could see the EU lead the way – leaders are coming together for a crucial EU Council meeting where they could decide Europe’s climate and energy targets until 2030. They could set ambitious targets supported by binding actions, they could lead the world on climate change action and by their decisions prompt other countries to be ambitious, to make declarations early and to adopt legally binding frameworks.
Paris is still the best hope for global action on climate change. Now is the time to work hard and push for action. But even if we get a deal in Paris we are still likely to exceed the 2 degree rise. So climate adaptation must go up the agenda on the UN and all the countries attending the talks. Practical Action will be pushing for this at the next UN climate talks in Peru in December.No Comments » | Add your comment
You may not have heard yet, but our field staff in the remote Turkana region of Northern Kenya are reporting a growing humanitarian crisis.
Normally, the long rainy season would have been in full swing by now. But so far, not a drop of rain has fallen. Should the rains fail over the next three weeks, many thousands of people could face a slow and lingering death, unless there is action now.
For almost 12 months now, the region has had no rain. Rivers are dry, water tables have fallen so dramatically that some boreholes can no longer reach it. Pastureland has dried up and the grass has disappeared. Pastoralists have been forced to migrate with their livestock into neighbouring Uganda.
The Turkana region is home to about a million people, many of whom are nomadic pastoralists, raising cattle and goats. Of these over 300,000 are in dire need of food and water and the number keep swelling by the day.
The great irony is that there are huge water supplies deep beneath the surface in Turkana. If this wasn’t enough last year oil was also discovered.
But the situation is expected to worsen and terrifyingly, there is a forecast of poor long rains. Malnutrition levels are high among women and children and many people will die unless action is taken. Goats are already dying and livestock is growing ever weaker.
Already, the situation in some parts of Turkana has now become so severe that I have heard reports that out of desperation people are eating tree roots and dogs.
Practical Action has installed solar-powered water pumps to access the huge underground reservoirs in Turkana, and where we have been working the situation is not so desperate, but we cannot reach everywhere. In addition, we have been working with the Ugandan Government since 2009 to negotiate safe passage for pastoralists desperate to access good pasture land in times of crisis and I am pleased to say our efforts are now proving vital. Already, 30,000 pastoralists have migrated with their herds over the border, saving lives and livestock worth millions of pounds in the process. Practical Action staff are continuing to work in Uganda to facilitate this process.
This, of course, means that men of working age have been forced to leave their families and smaller livestock such as goats. In many communities in which we work only women and children remain, using the solar-powered water pumps we have installed as they battle desperately to survive as their goats die from starvation.
The Kenyan Government is providing affected populations with some food relief and humanitarian organisations are starting to mobilise, but aside from one short online report, there has been no international reporting of the situation outside the Kenyan media.
There shouldn’t be another famine in Turkana. The fact that one is looming should shame us all. We all need to take practical action there now.5 Comments » | Add your comment