Netrakona district is full of haors and very much prone to disaster risks and Mohanganj is one of the most vulnerable upazilas of the district. About 7 months a year the haors remain under water and rest 5 months the areas become dry low land. These 2 opposite situations create huge obstacles for the inhabitants of the area. Flash flood, untimely flood, drought affects heavily. The transport and communication system is fully dependent on seasons, during water boats and during season on foot. Soil erosion due to tides is a common factor which destroys roads, houses and infrastructures every year and affect adversely on development of the area.
Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS) has been implementing “Resilience through Economic Empowerment, Climate Adaptation, Leadership and Learning (REE-CALL)” project supported by Oxfam GB since 1 August 2010 to build capacity for disaster management and disaster risk reduction. Under this project a community based organization was developed in Kurerpar village in 2011. There are 92 members in the “Kurerpar Shapla Community Based Organization”. The Shapla CBO members started conducting meeting on relevant important issues, market extension plan, participatory capacity and vulnerability analysis (PCVA) etc. The use of PCVA tool is a very important of this project. Through PCVA the CBO members identified risks like tidal hit, flood, under-developed transportation system. The village people feel unsafe during rainy season as they remain surrounded by water. Every year villagers lose their land and house due to tide stroke. During winter they raise house plinth and courtyard and those are destroyed during rainy season. The villagers got stuck in the vicious cycle.
In this regard, the CBO members prepared a plan to reduce the risk through assistance of REE-CALL project. All the CBO members took unanimous decision for constructing a guide wall (mound protection wall) from the home area of Mr. Zahed to home of Mr. Shanto, which will directly benefit 30 families. But it was not an easy task. Technical assistance and financial support both were required. In this situation, the CBO members decided to seek help from Upazila administration. They collected signatures from the community people on the application in this regard and submitted to the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Mohanganj, Netrakona. The local representatives of REE-CALL project and BNPS staff requested UNO to consider the application with importance. The UNO responded positively and asked Upazila Project Implementation Officer (PIO) and Upazila Engineer to take necessary steps as soon as possible. The PIO prepared a plan and budget with the support of REE-CALL project staff and Oxfam GB. The project was finalized and approved.
The UNO inaugurated the starting of construction work on 21 December 2014 on the site. The construction work started with financial support of REE-CALL project, Upazila Administration and community contribution. The REE-CALL project allocated BDT. 2,25,000/- and CBO members collected community contribution of BDT. 1,00,000/-. With the amount 517 feet guide wall and 290 feet CC mounded protection wall construction was completed in April 2015. The rest of the construction work in govt. funding was taking time to be completed. The CBO members continued their pressure on administration and finally the total guide wall construction was completed in June 2015. The govt. contribution for this work was BDT. 1,18,900/- which was used to construct 227 CC mounded protection wall.
It was totally a new experience for the villagers and CBO members. They never thought before that this type of protection wall can be constructed in joint initiative. They are very happy now and feeling safer in the upcoming rainy seasons.