Uttaran has have been working successfully in the southwest of Bangladesh for over 30 years.
Achievements of Uttaran’s Different Programmes:
I) Rights and Social Justice Programme:
Provide legal aid support:
Significant percentage of minorities including schedule casts and low castes reside in this part. Shrimp farming, khasland (public land) etc often cause conflict and violation of human rights. In such cases the victims are less likely to get protection from state, law enforcement agencies and judiciary. Considering this context, Uttaran is working to protect the rights of the poor people including the ultra poor and disadvantaged and religio-ethnic minority communities. So far, a total of 2,081 people have received legal support from lower and high court cases while others received mediation ( lower court case support : 2647, higher court case support: 326 people and mediation: 2389). Uttaran submitted 10 WRIT Petition for claiming rights of the landless people.
Transfer of Assets (Land) to Landless to eradicate poverty:
Land rights and fair distribution of khasland remains key to breaking the chain of poverty in Bangladesh and accelerate growth. We work to hold the government and it’s agencies to accountable to ensure transparency in the policy decisions that impact the southwest. Uttaran facilitation through a unique multi-stakeholder process, in close cooperation with the state administration, for the landless of Satkhira and Khulna districts. Uttaran’s advocacy initiatives, has recovered land from illegal occupants and transfer to landless families. Uttaran is implementing three land rights project with support from Manusher Jonno Foundation/UKAid, shiree/UKAid and European Union. Through the two projects of Uttaran funded by Manusher Jonno Foundation/ UKAid and Shiree/UKAid, from 2004 to till date, total 41,762 landless poor households have accessibility to 17,461.818 acres of khasland and khas water bodies and additionally around 15430 landless people are in position of khasland.
ii) Climate justice, adaptation, food security and sustainable agriculture programme:
Community based river basin management:
Community based river basin management has been another long term work of Uttaran which has resulted in ecological restoration of rivers in southwest coastal region and scaling up of indigenous water management knowledge and practices. Southwest coastal region, over the last several decades, witnessed imposition of structural solution of river management at the cost of traditional practices. Uttaran worked closely with local communities to learn and successfully persuade the national and international policy makers to adopt indigenous water management practices. For instance Tidal River Management (TRM) is there to solve the water logging problem. TRM has been accepted by the first PRSP as priority method for river management in the region. Uttaran advocacy together with the community platform, the Pani Committee, has ensured community participation in the decision-making process. Uttaran, together with Pani Committee, and a number of scientific and knowledge institutions, has developed a Peoples Plan of Action for River Management in Southwest Region, a remarkable example of bottom-up planning incorporating indigenous knowledge and ensuring community participation. Now policy makers are acknowledging Uttaran’s People’s Plan for solving water logging problem of southwest region of Bangladesh.
Climate Adaptive IGA Support to Ultra-Poor:
Uttaran has extensive experience in providing climate adaptive economic support to ultra-poor families. Uttaran takes initiatives so that the poor can get rid of extreme poverty. A number of 107,503 poor people have received economic support training. 135,052 women (86%) are supported through the economic support programme.
Uttaran’s Response to Disasters:
Responding to humanitarian emergencies is an essential part of Uttaran’s work to fight poverty and injustice. Uttaran has responded to all major emergencies in the South-Western region of Bangladesh, including cyclones and floods, with funding support from institutional and private donors. Helping people cope with crises through disaster risk reduction, emergency relief, preparedness, cash for work and cash for training support, and post-crisis recovery.
Uttaran provided relief and rehabilitation services in the following areas:
- In 1985 Uttaran worked for flood victims of Satkhira and Khulna districts;
- From 1989 to 1993 Uttaran worked for waterlogged affected people of Satkhira, Jessore and Khulna districts;
- From 1996 to 1997 Uttaran worked for water logged affected people of Jessore district;
- In 1998 Uttaran worked for the cyclone victims of Satkhira district;
- A huge amount of relief and rehabilitation work was conducted by Uttaran in 2000 for the flood victims of Satkhira and Jessore districts;
- From 2001-2016 Uttaran provided relief, recovery and rehabilitation support for flood and waterlogged affected people of Satkhira, Jessore and Khulna districts;
- After Cyclone SIDR of 2007, Uttaran provided huge relief and rehabilitation support among the cyclone affected families of Morelgonj, Shoronkhola, Kachua upazila of Bagerhat district and Mothbaria and Bhandaria upazila of Pirojpur districts.
- In 2009, after Cyclone AILA Uttaran provide emergency relief and rehabilitation support to the affected families of Satkhira and Khulna districts.
- In addition to that Uttaran has worked for cyclone affected people of Cox’s bazar in 1991.
- Uttaran is currently implementing emergency recovery, rehabilitation and DRR projects in the waterlogged Satkhira and Jessore districts.
iii) Human Development Programme:
Ensuring Right to safe drinking water
Shortage of safe drinking water is major problem in southwest region of Bangladesh. Uttaran mobilizes the water committee formed with local citizens. Water committees arrange rallies, media roundtables, meetings and workshops to influence the government. As an aftermath of such advocacy the issue of water problem was raised at the parliament. Subsequently, the government has undertaken a project so that people can have access to safe water. Ministry of Local Government and Cooperative is the implementer of this project. Apart from advocacy efforts Uttaran has also installed a number of water points in this region including Pond Sand Filter (PSF), Rain Water Harvesting System, Dug-well, and tube wells.
Food Security through Agriculture Value Chain:
Aquaculture: Uttaran supports farmers on how to prepare land, nursery management, water management, modern farming system, disease control, use of pro-biotic etc. Uttaran provides farmers with a water quality measurement Kit Box, through which the farmers tests the soil quality, water PH, water salinity and temperature. Cross visits were organized to exchange knowledge between lead farmer and other farmers. Additionally, Uttaran prepares display plots to encourage other local shrimp farmers to follow the shrimp farming technology. These activities have enhanced the technical knowledge of the farmers thus enabling them to increase their production and earn more money, thus increasing their food security. More than 10,000 farmers received this support from Uttaran.
Horticulture: Uttaran provides the group members with knowledge, skill development training and support on good quality seeds, use of organic fertilizers, soil test, good agricultural practice on vegetable and fruits and pest control. Display plots on vegetable cultivation using sex pheromone trap and organic fertilizers were established by Uttaran. Dragon fruit trees were planted on pilot basis with the help of the Bangladesh Agriculture University. Cross visits on among the farmers were organized for knowledge exchange. Around 15,000 households received this support from Uttaran.
Dairy: Farmers are provided with training to increase their dairy production, cow species selection, cow sheds, fodder management, vaccination, disease control and cattle rearing. Hybrid Napier grasses and Jambu grasses are introduced among the farmers groups for ensuring better fodder for the cow. Through cross visits and field days, the farmers are introduced to the new technologies. Besides, Hydroponic fodder is also being introduced among the farmers with the help of Bangladesh Agricultural University. The trained CLSPs provide health and vaccination supports for the cattle. Uttaran also provides support to small businesses focused on supplying dairy farmers with enhanced quality sources of nutrition for their dairy cows, and on other services needed by dairy farmers but generally not present or of inappropriate standard. Around 8700 farmers received this support through Uttaran.
Market Linkages: Four Vegetable and fruits collection centers were constructed in Dumuria, Chitolmary and Kolaroa Upazila so that the farmers could bring their vegetables and fruits. From these collection centers, through a buying and selling committee, the products are transported into different markets in Dhaka, Chittagong, Barisal and other places across the country. This year, 16 metric ton of mangoes were export in European countries such as Italy, France, Germany and UK. In few days 10-15 metric ton mangoes have pipe line for export in European countries. On the other hand about 25 metric ton mangoes were sold to CIC Agro Ltd. Ispahani Agro limited, Basher Agro Ltd. and their chain shop in Dhaka “Agora”. Similarly, 409 metric tons of Palm (jujube), summer tomato and other agricultural products were sold to Basher Agro and other vegetable dealers in Dhaka and other parts of the country. Similarly four fish collection centers regularly collect fish from producer groups and send to Faruque sea food Ltd. On the other hand two milk collection centers regularly collect milk from producer groups and send to BRAC Chilling centre. Additionally, the project initiated the establishment of a village super market in Dumuria Upazila of Khulna district which will be first of its kind in Bangladesh.
In the south of the country, frequently there are only two rice harvests throughout the year; the principal Boro crop, harvested in May, the winter Amon rice, harvested in December. Harvests are important to subsistence farmers and day labourers not just for the food they produce, but also the work they provide. The period between August and October therefore squeezes the poor rural population from three sides; household stocks left over from the May harvest have been depleted, thus compelling them to purchase rice, rice scarcity means that prices are often 30% higher than during the harvest season, and there is little or no paid work available locally to provide ready money for this purpose. Considering this situation Uttaran started to operate 16 Food Banks in disaster prone southwest region of Bangladesh. Uttaran is purchasing rice and distributing 140 kg rice among the poor and marginalized community people during the lean season while the price of rice is going up and the scope of employment opportunity is very limited. They are paying back 147 kg. rice to Uttaran Food Bank during harvest and low price season and the scope employment opportunities are sufficient. Based on our experience we can share that the recovery rate of paying back rice is 99 per cent. From 2011 to till to date 11,655 families received food, support amounting 1631.70 MT. rice.
Health and Nutrition:
Primary health care is one of the key focus areas of Uttaran since the very beginning of its journey. Uttaran believes that prevention is always better than cure and that is why the health service sector of Uttaran primarily focuses on prevention of diseases. Most of the people in Uttaran’s working area are poor, ultra poor and marginalized people. As result, these people are highly unaware about preventive health care and other health and disease related knowledge. In order to improve the situation of health care, Uttaran works closely with local government administrative bodies and members, key stakeholders and community people. Uttaran has 6730 primary organizations and from each of these primary organizations Uttaran trains a health volunteer from each of the group. After receiving training, the health volunteers aware the members of the group about preventive health care skills and through the members of the group, the whole community become aware. Currently 410 Community Pushti Karmi (Community Nutrition Volunteers) is working in Uttaran. With an aim to prevent anemia for the pregnant mothers, lactating mothers and adolescent girls, Uttaran provides Iron, folic acid and counseling with the beneficiaries through the Community Pushti Karmi. Beside these, Uttaran also provides de-worming tablets and micro nutrient powder for the children. The nutrition team of Uttaran believes that behavioral change through awareness is more important for a healthier and safe life. They provide deep counseling on behavioral changes, awareness on food habit, and movement for safe delivery for the mothers and future mothers and health education to the child and adolescent. Uttaran also distribute seeds and saplings for homestead gardening. Uttaran also provides support to prepare school level gardening so that the students are aware on nutrition.
Education is basic human rights to the people of Bangladesh, given by our Constitution. Uttaran believes that through education, the marginalized people get opportunities to break the vicious circle of poverty. That is why, since its inception, education has become a primary area of Uttaran. Through its education activities, Uttaran tries to provide quality education and other educational support to the people of southwest coastal region of Bangladesh, particularly for the poor and marginalized and ethnic minority communities.
Uttaran has established several formal education institutes. The institutes are:
- Samakal Maddhyamik Bidhapith (Jatpur village of Tala upazila under Satkhira district)
- Technical Business and Management College (Jatpur village of Tala upazila under Satkhira district)
- Shaheed Muktijoddha Mohabiddaloy (Tala upazila of Satkhira district). This college provides HSC, Degree and Honors level education support.
Above mentioned institutes are operating according to the guidelines of the Government. Uttaran is helping these institutes to ensure their infrastructural development, to enhance the capacity of their teachers and helping to make the overall process of teaching and learning much smoother.
Uttaran established three technical training centres those are described below:
- Uttaran Chuknagar Technical Training Centre (Dumuria upazila of Khulna district)
- Uttaran Shemanto Technical Training Centre (Debhata upazila of Satkhira district)
- Uttaran Tala Technical Training Centre (Tala upazila of Satkhira district)
The technical training centre of Parulia at Debhata offers courses on Automobile, fashion garments, mechanical agriculture farming and carpentering. The technical training center at Tala offer 6 months long course on IT support while the technical training center at Chuknagar of Khulna offers courses on Welding and fabrication, fashion garments, automobile and electronics. Currently 350 youths availed training from these centers.
Beside these, Uttaran established following two primary schools also:
- Atshoto Bigha Primary School (Debhata upazila of Satkhira district)
- Shishutirtho Primary School (Tala upazila of Satkhira district)
MuktiJoddhya Abdus Salam Gono Gronthagar was formed in December 29, 2001, when a group of likeminded local citizens came together with Uttaran and decided that the citizens of the Tala area needed a library; a place where youth could come to read books and newspapers. Gono Gronthagar is continuously attempting to enhance the quality and accessibility of information people by making free access to computer, internet and other relevant facilities to community people, especially for women and youth from vulnerable and disadvantaged social strata, small and marginal farmers and young people from marginalized households by making free access to internet facilities. It is mentionable that the library is providing and continuing book reading competitions for the increased number of youth folks, specially the students of secondary, higher secondary and tertiary education institutions. It is ultimately meeting the book reading, information sharing and knowledge discourse thirst gradually increasing the number of people through continuing book lending activities within and outside of Tala upazila. The following facilities are available at the Gono Gronthagar:
- an ever-expanding collection of over 7000 top-quality books, including e-journals
- 1000 e-books
- our exciting program of skill development, reader groups and other events
- study skills workshops for English learners