Originally conceived as an Information Exchange and meeting place for NGOs working on the Advocacy programme of the water-logging problem in the South West Coastal Region of Bangladesh, CDP gradually took over the function of coordinating the Advocacy activities in the region on specific issues whenever they formed an informal Network. From there, it was only one step forward to forming its own Networks of NGOs on issues considered vital for the development of the region, and organising Citizens' Advocacy Forums on similar issues. Though primarily concerned with the South West Coastal Region, because of the impact of the waters of the Ganges and its lack in the region, CDP finds its field of activity extended over the entire Ganges Delta in Bangladesh.
1. Profile of the Organisation
1.1 Name : Upokulio Unnayan
(Coastal Development Partnership -CDP)
1.2 Address : 64, Islampur Road, Khulna –9100 Bangladesh .
1.3 Telephone : 88 - 041 – 725772
Mobile : 017296455, 071840854
1.4 Legal Status : Registered vide No. KHULNA/54 under The Societies
1.5 Contact Person : Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu
Designation : Coordinator .
1.6 Field of Activity : Advocacy, Grassroots Mobilization, Organizing Citizens'
Forum, Capacity Building of NGO's in the Southwest
Coastal Region and Ganges Dependent Area of Bangladesh.
Local Resource Management.
1.7 Funding Sources : Uttaran, ALRD, Sushilan, Bhumija, PROSHIKA,
(Till date) The PRIP TRUST, Grameen Trust and other local
2. The Evolution of CDP :
The history of CDP is the history of Advocacy by NGOs in the South West Coastal Region of Bangladesh. In analyzing the evolution of Upokulio Unnayan Shahojogy, known in English as Coastal Development Partnership or CDP, one has to go back to the environmental disasters that have ravaged the Southwestern Coastal Region of Bangladesh and the causes behind them.
The Southwestern Coastal Region of Bangladesh, comprising the districts of Satkhira, Khulna and Bagerhat and the Southern portion of Jessore district, is mainly low-lying land, being only about mean sea level and lower than high tide level, with human habitations built on land raised by means of digging ponds and ditches. Homesteads and orchards have been established on such raised land.
Before human intervention took place in the natural
water regime of this region, tide water used to submerge the low lying
land twice a day, surging up through the numerous estuaries, rivers, canals
and creeks. To the south of the region, between human habitation and the
Bay of Bengal, lay the Sunderban Reserve Forest (SRF), the largest block
of mangrove eco-system that exists in the world today. The forest detritus
that amounts to a staggering 3.5 million tons a year, falls into the water
and is carried to the flood plains to the north of the forest. The detritus
decomposes in the water and becomes nutritious organic food for all forms
of aquatic life, as well as excellent organic fertilizer for the land on
which it was usually deposited when the tides recede.
During the monsoon, when the rain water washes out the salinity brought by the ocean tides, the farmers used to build low earthen dikes and temporary wooden sluices around this low land to keep out the tides and to drain out the surplus rain water, and then cultivate local varieties of flood tolerant and salinity tolerant rice. After the harvest, the dikes and sluices were dismantled and the tides had free play in the flood plains. The abundance of organic flood in the water attracted innumerable varieties of fishes and other aquatic animals, which provided the poor farmers with a supplementary source of income and nutrition during the dry months of the year. The Sunderban mangrove eco-system also flourished in a delicate balance of saline and fresh water.
But in the decade of the 1960's, propelled by the need to produce more food-grains for the fast growing population and encouraged by the advent of the world-wide Green Revolution heralded by the development of High Yielding Varieties (HYV) of rice, the then government of East Pakistan designed the Coastal Embankment Project (CEP), enclosing all the tidal flood plains into 37 polders by means of 1566 kilometres of high embankments with 282 sluices to drain out the surplus rain water in the Khulna region alone. The project also included closure of several rivers and canals.
But the designers of the project did not take into consideration the high sensitivity of the water regime of this flat delta land built of loose sedimentary soil. The tides, carrying heavy amounts of silt, were denied entry into the flood plains; as a result the silt began to be deposited on the river beds when the flow came to a stand-still at high tide. Gradually, the river beds rose above the level of the land inside the polders and the mouths of the sluice gates were blocked off. Water-logging that first appeared in the early 1980's finally became a chronic problem for the inhabitants of the entire Southwestern region. It rotted off vegetation, flooded homesteads, schools and village roads, and polluted all sources of water for domestic use. All agricultural activities came to a stand-still, with hundreds of thousands of people thrown into poverty and misery. Pollution of all water increased the spread of water-borne diseases and the women and children suffered from diarrhea, skin diseases and malnutrition. The shrinking of the tidal prism also caused the tides to go further inland, thus spreading salinity to new areas.
The leading role of the regional NGO, UTTARAN
in this respect has been noteworthy. It was Uttaran, under the dedicated
leadership of its Executive Director, Shahidul Islam, that inspired and
motivated the other NGOs working at grassroots level in the region, to
work with the people and learn from Peoples' Experience. Uttaran also motivated
and inspired the affected people to come forward and express their experiences
and opinions. Uttaran, in fact, has been the pioneer in Advocacy work in
this region. Uttaran and the other NGOs then drew the support of ADAB,
the apex organization of NGOs into the Advocacy movement, and ADAB naturally
supported the NGOs and the people. It was then that need was felt for the
establishment of an organization to act as a Secretariat and Resource Centre
for all NGOs working in the region on Environmental and related problems
of the region. Thus was born the Upokulio Unnayan Shahojogy, known in English
as Coastal Development Partnership or CDP, to build up the capacity of
NGOs by providing them with training and information, organizing a Citizens'
Forum, provide the media with information and to conduct Advocacy at local,
national and international levels.
All kinds of financial and other support for the functioning of CDP was extended by Uttaran, Bhumija, Sushilan and PROSHIKA during the initial years of its existence. Later, other organizations such as ALRD and Nijera Kori also commenced mutual relationship with CDP and gave support for many of CDP's activities. The Grameen Trust commissioned CDP for a research project on a local resource management. The PRIP TRUST has started giving financial assistance to CDP for Capacity Building of NGOs on Options for the Ganges Flood Plain Area and Coordinated Citizens' Forum to fight against Fundamentalism..
To develop an Environment-friendlyu Society innocent of any discrimination on the basis of race, class or gender whatsoever.
The Mission of CDP shall be to assist other NGOs and Citizens' Forums to build up their capacities, which will in turn help them to enhance the capability of the under-developed classes of Society, by means of which th they will be enabled to achieve Social Justice through Environmental and Economic Development.
To organise Alliances and Networks with
partner NGOs to develop an appropriate
development perspective to advance development activities.
To organise issue-based Citizens' Forums.
To provide necessary information in respect of Environment, Local Resources and Social, Land-related and Gender issues to NGOs, Networks, Alliances, Citizens' Forums and other decision-making and influential sections of Society.
To assist and coordinate Social Movements.
To assista and coordinate Landf Reform Programmes.
To help establish Human Rights and Social Justice by means of Social Movements.
To play an active role in ensuring the partici[pation of local people in making decisions in respect of forming local governments.
To conduct Advocacy in respect of ensuring the rights of under-privileged sections of the Society.
Activities Conducted by the CDP :
The activities conducted by the Upokulio Unnayan
Shahojogy (Coastal Development Partnership - CDP) include :-
Identification of Environmental, social, economic, governance and/or Human Rights related social and other issues;
Development of a Resource Centre consisting of Books and other resource materials in respect of the region, environment, and socio-economic development that can benefit development workers, students, and researchers, as well as arrangements to collect newspaper clippings from daily newspapers and compile them into issue-based files.
Develop Coalition(s) or Network(s) of NGOs working in the region to work towards a common goal;
Capacity building of NGOs by providing necessary training for their personnel;
Supply of information to the mass media as an Advocacy Tool;
Assist the NGOs in mobilizing people at Grassroots level;
Play the role of a Secretariat for any coalition or Network to be formed;
Publish books, booklets, bulletins, newsletters, leaflets and posters as well as issue-based articles in newspapers and periodicals as Advocacy Tools;
Conduct Advocacy in respect of identified issues at local, national and if necessary international levels;
Forming a Forum for promoting Sustainable Agriculture.
Identification of Local Resources.
Form Coordinated Citizens' Forum on various issues.
4. Issues :
The issues on which CDP has played/is playing an active role include :-
Water-logging in the Coastal Embankment Project areas;
Movement of the land-less for Khas land in Satkhira district;
The Sunderbans Bio-diversity Conservation Project (SBCP);
Environmental Degradation and Socio-economic upheaval caused by Shrimp Cultivation;
Development of Sustainable Agriculture.
Local Resource Management.
Appropriate Participatory Development of the Ganges Dependent Area of Bangladesh.
5. Experience in Issue-Based Advocacy
The CDP's experience in conducting Advocacy include
Advocacy for revision of the Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project(KJDRP) for eradication of Water-logging in the Coastal Embankment Project Areas.
Advocacy in respect of Land Reform and Settlement of the land-less in State-owned Khas lands, especially in respect of the land-less in Debhata-Kaliganj of Satkhira district.
Anti-shrimp Advocacy with the Coalition of NGOs and Citizens, in cooperation with
Advocacy for preservation of Environment in the Southwest Coastal Region.
Advocacy in respect of the Sunderbans Bio-diversity Conservation Project (SBCP);
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