This International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, discover how Islamic Relief is equipping people in Bangladesh to cultivate new livelihoods despite climate change challenges.

Bangladesh, ranked in the last Global Climate Risk Index among the countries hardest hit by climate change, is on the frontline of the climate emergency. Its southwest coastal areas are particularly prone to the effects of a changing and increasingly unpredictable climate.

One of its most vulnerable districts is Satkhira, where salinity intrusion makes crops hard to grow, especially in the dry months of March and April when the problem is most acute. Drought, flooding, waterlogging, cyclones and storm surges also wreak havoc on the local economy, food security and livelihoods.

In 2009 cyclone Aila destroyed farmers fields, vegetable gardens and fishponds in Satkhira. The powerful storm also made sources of fresh water scarcer than ever, leaving local people struggling to produce enough food.

New livelihoods reduce risk from climate disaster

Islamic Relief has worked in Satkhira since the disaster, helping rebuild communities and improve climate resilience.

Last year we opened six farmer’s field laboratories in which wheat, sunflower, mustard, chili and a sturdy salinity-tolerant rice were grown. With advice from government agriculture experts to further improve sustainability, these fields showed local farmers how to continue to produce food despite the environmental challenges.

With our technical and financial support women began cultivating sunflowers, which need very little water and produce seeds which are much in demand. Once a year, farmers now grow saline resistant rice that protects crops from being flooded during storm surges.

Islamic Relief also helps the community to farm shrimp, crabs and ducks and has introduced greenhouse technology so local people can grow hydroponic grass. Produced without soil, the grass provides nutritious livestock fodder. Rainwater harvesting has been another innovation that is making a big difference in Satkhira, where safe water sources are scarce, making everyday life difficult for many.

Working closely with the incredible communities of Satkhira, we are enabling local people to support one another through self-help groups. The project, which also covers Khulna and Patuakhali districts, is helping boost the resilience of over 90,300 people.

With your support Islamic Relief can continue to help communities on the frontline of the climate emergency: donate today.