Page 1

APR 2017 - MAR 2018


“May I live like the lotus, at ease in muddy water�– Buddha This girl is a 7th grader in Habiganj. During monsoon and early autumn, her village goes under water for four to five months, and her day labourer father hardly finds a source of income. She collects waterlilies from a canal near her home and sells them in the market to support her family bearing her education. photo: md. moazzem mostakim timur | 2016 | habiganj

last year was a year of

remarkable growth

and inspiring stories

Life finds a way! The picture depicts a Canna Indica plant sprouting in the maturation pond of the faecal sludge treatment plant in Faridpur. These ponds ensure high efficiencies of pathogen removal from the treated waste water before discharging to the environment. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | faridpur

we have seen

significant growth in the reporting year

22 new partners

4 new locations

15 new technologies

12 new projects

400,000 more people

we have developed our

strategic business plan

upto 2021, which covers our

six major workstreams

agriculture, food & nutrition security

agriculture for resilience

energy for social & productive use

technology builds resilience


waste management

20% 6.1%



waste management


agriculture for resilience

technology builds resilience

energy for social & productive use

agriculture, food & nutrition security

our team consisting

94 staff

managed around

3.7 Million GBP over the last year

43% 28%

A refreshing exhibit of women empowerment. This poor woman, mother of two daughters, has been growing high-yielding grasses, harvesting them, and feeding them to two cows she has been rearing – all by herself. She is now making a living, leveraging solely on her skills and the agricultural inputs she received from Practical Action. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | jashore

during the reporting period

we supported generating

more than 450,000 economic workdays

for the extreme poor, of which

91% for women

read a lovely story of

humanity and transforming lives

photo: a z m nazmul islam chowdhury | 2017 | sirajgonj

Some of the beautiful life-changing stories make us restore our faith in humanity in this fast-moving busy world. And these stories make us shed tears for a different reason - a profound appreciation for the kind things people can do for each other! A few years ago, those who were extreme poor and had been displaced due to recurrent river erosion, have now moved forward and extended their helping hands to stand by the people in need. July 2017. The enormous flood took away many people’s livelihood, assets - and more importantly, some lost their loved ones. In a horrifying situation like this, things get so ugly that people can only think about the basic needs - food and shelter! Many organisations got involved throughout that time, with their relief works, to help the flood affected population but it takes a lot of time to reach the remote areas - where the damages are worse. When monsoon brought waves of water into the lives of North Bengal’s Chilmari inhabitants, pumpkin producers from the neighbouring towns came forward in support. As people of Chilmari started to suffer due to floods, farmers from the nearby Gangachara and Kaunia donated around 500 pumpkins for the victims of the affected community. It was, undoubtedly, a remarkably unique addition to the relief efforts by Practical Action. It shows us that we don’t need a lot to help others in need. It was a proud achievement for us because our beneficiaries of Sandbar Cropping are now self-sufficient in some ways and have reached a point where they can help those who needed it the most. Sandbar cropping is a landmark initiative of Practical Action for making transitional barren land productive. This practice enables landless families in Bangladesh to diversify their incomes by growing pumpkins and other high value crops like Zucchini, Capsicum, sunflower etc. Each year, Bangladesh loses more than 0.7% cultivable land due to unplanned urbanisation, infrastructure development, and population growth. To cater to the needs of the ever-growing population, it is important to explore alternative approaches to agricultural technologies. Every year, about 16 sq km (1600 hectares) of raised riverbed shows up as barren sandbars which could be used for production of crops to meet the food security and nutrition of the population. The cost benefit ratio for pumpkin cultivation is found to be around 1:5 and it has been observed at least 4 subsequent cycles of sandbar cropping could uplift the extreme poor by stabilising their income from $1.25 to $2.5 per capita per day. The Agricultural Policy 2018 of MoA referred promotion of sandbar cropping at raised river bed with persuasion by Practical Action over years. Facilitating application of the policy concern will help to ensure food security and nutrition to the deprived community and enhance their income potentials. This initiative has also played an important role in women empowerment. Due to river erosion in northern Bangladesh, male population often migrate to urban areas, leaving aged people and children behind. As a result, female population are now coming forward to take on agriculture as their profession. This story of humanity has moved us and we believe our works will continue to empower people and make them able to help themselves and others. Sometimes we find people helping strangers and some people - who just be there - doing simple and caring acts that make a difference. Many of these stories have inspired millions of people and they inspire everyone to do some more acts of kindness.

An aerial view of sandbar cropping in Kurigram. During winter when the river water dries for around six months, thousands of landless farmers, living in the bank of mighty river teesta, cultivate pumpkin in these transitional river beds. They have recently been trying other high value crops such as squash, flowers, broccoli, etc. photo: salman saeed | 2018 | kurigram

to transform the barren sandbar into cultivable land

682,600 pits were cultivated covering 682.6 hectares of transitional riverbed in Rangpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat and Gaibandha

it will take

60.5 hours for Usain Bolt to touch all the pits at his world record speed!

Two sisters are gleefully playing with a pumpkin on the Bengali new year’s eve. The sandbar cropping technology has proved to be an important poverty alleviator for the extreme poor people, displaced by river erosion and living on the embankments for the last few decades. This intervention has helped people graduate out of poverty and has been the underlying reason of the smile of many such children. photo: plaban ganguly | 2018 | rangpur

7,000 landless extreme poor farmers

produced 22,030 MT pumpkins traded 8,392 MT countrywide and exported around 167 MT to Malaysia, India, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, China and the UAE


have started reinvesting on new ventures


have better household nutrition with 3 meals per day

Farmers carrying their pumpkins from sandbars on a horse carriage. These pumpkins are used for consumption, which ensures better household nutrition and for trading locally. A portion is stored for future consumption and for selling during lean periods, especially in monsoon, when they hardly have access to any other source of income. photo: mizanur rahaman | 2016 | rangpur

our sandbar cropping technology has been included in the

National Agriculture Policy 2018 with a view to ensure food security and transforming the subsistence agriculture into a commercial approach

this will open a new avenue for

farming during dry season

lasting six to seven months and can supplement main cultivable land which is decreasing around 1% annually


the newly introduced

jute fibre extraction machine

photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | rangpur

The market for traditional jute products is decreasing but there is a great prospect for jute diversified products in our country. Despite being one of the key jute producers in the global economy, Bangladesh has not succeeded in capturing the jute market to its highest potential. One of the main reason is the low-quality jute fibres, resulting from the traditional jute fibre extracting system. The traditional fibre extraction process involves farmers putting jute underwater for a couple of days. Farmers in Northern areas use muddy and insufficient water, which results in poor quality fibre. Also, it is very time-consuming. In order to solve this problem, Practical Action has introduced Anshkol, a semi-automated fibre extracting machine that helps in producing better quality fibre at a lower cost and it is less labour and time-consuming. Extracted fibres require less space for retting and thus, it reduces the use of water, as well as water pollution. The technology can reduce jute farmers' dependency on water for retting. It also ensures higher quality fibres. Anshkol is less time and labour-intensive compared to the traditional system of fibre extraction. It reduces two-thirds of the cost for jute processing compared to the traditional system. It costs BDT.1250 to extract jute fibre from 33 decimal of land and it takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. The retting usually takes 12 to 14 days in this technology, whereas, in the traditional jute processing system, it takes 18 to 20 days. Furthermore, in the traditional system, a lot of fibres remain on the stick, resulting in a huge wastage. With this technology, it is now possible to limit this wastage, thus, resulting in higher profit. The machine can also be used all year round, even during off-season, by attaching it with other threshing machine (paddy, wheat, maize thresher), irrigation equipment/machine and by adding trolley for carrying agro-products locally. The machine operation system is very easy and can be operated by both male and female. 50% of the selected machine operators are female. This action is directly empowering the women by increasing their involvement in the income generating activity and increasing income. Furthermore, the technology is contributing in reducing health hazards for women. The traditional system requires jute fibre to be separated from the stick in an unhealthy environment, mostly done by women. This technology eliminates this process and thus, reduces health risks for women. This initiative of Practical Action complements Government of Bangladesh's activities and policies, which include encouraging cultivation of good quality fibre and promotion of Jute Diversified Products (JDPs). The government has made a law to ensure jute packaging for the food items and put a ban on the use of polythene bags. However, the implementation of this still remains poor. If the relevant organisations continue to increase the manufacturing of jute products, it will be easier to put an end to polythene bags. Bangladesh Goverment’s Export Policy 2009-12 specified the jute sector as one of the special development sectors. Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) has developed a variety of products, but efforts were not made to market those products properly to the world.

A farmer is washing bundles of jute as part of the improved retting process. Many like him have benefitted from this newly introduced environment friendly process, which has reduced the human drudgery and cost by two-third. Combating water scarcity for retting and labour shortage during the season, this improved process takes a week less than the traditional retting mechanism. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | rangpur

using 60 fibre extraction machine and improved jute retting process

1,385 poor farmers produced around 2,600 MT jute fibre in Rangpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram and Gaibandha


increase in fibre quality


increase in income


reduce in labour cost


reduce in time needed

Mukta (38) is working on her craft creations made of jute. Previously she was involved in processing tobacco. In 2017, she received basic training on weaving from Karupanya Ltd., a leading jute products manufacturer and exporter. She is now working for Nilmadhob, an SME, and her income has been doubled. The jute handicrafts, made by Mukta and 30 other trained women working there, received a lot of accolades locally. They have also been recognised at a fair in Nepal. photo: plaban ganguly | 2018 | lalmonirhat

increase in fibre quality

ascents the value of this golden fibre globally

300 trained women

previously unemployed or involved in hazardous jobs are now producing diversified jute products in

14 Small & Medium Enterprises

their income has been

increased by 112%

Welding a promising tomorrow! Yasin (19), is not a labour now! He has become a skilled manpower. Like Yasin, 350 more artisans have received institutional on-job apprenticeship on new agro-machineries and have been equipped with light engineering business support materials ensuring their occupational safety. Besides, 32 workshop owners were trained on new agro-machineries, business expansion and market linkage. photo: plaban ganguly | 2018 | lalmonirhat

we believe in

advancing potentials! 1,765 people

have whetted their skills on weaving, welding & fabrication, industrial sewing machine operation, driving cum auto-mechanics, electrician cum solar technician, and agro-machineries from

4 Technical Training Centres and Karupanya Ltd.

Swinging from extreme poverty towards a brighter future! Moni, a 3rd grader girl, is playing in the courtyard. Three years ago, her family was extremely poor. Her mother, Sabita (39), started rearing hens in 2015 and bought this cow with the profit generated. With all the additional income, she and her elder sister are now attending school and can hope for a secure future for themselves. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | dinajpur

that is how we supported more than

44,000 people to graduate out of extreme poverty

in 4 northern districts of Bangladesh


photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | satkhira

Montu Mia, a resident of Satkhira district, situated in the southern part of Bangladesh, was going through a hard time because salinity limited his options for farming. Like other people in his area, he doesn’t really have any other source of income except agriculture. Imagine being the only bread-earner of a family in a saline prone region, having no source of income but agriculture. After having trouble farming, Montu was selected as a beneficiary under Practical Action’s Aquageoponics activity, a climate adaptive innovative solution for co-production of fish and vegetable in saline prone areas of Bangladesh. Through this, Montu built a cage, where he farms fishes and cultivated vegetables right above it. The vegetable roots are placed within the cage to purify the water, while the wastes produced by fish supplied nutrients for the vegetable. The technical key aspects of such system was already researched with further development scope on its business modality. In the business modelling, different combination of aquageoponics cages and small fish cages had been used to understand the combination benefits. This innovation was originated by Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), which was later tried out by Practical Action in the saline prone waterlogged areas in Bangladesh. Aquageoponics emphasised on increasing productivity of mainly crops, fishery and livestock in the polders. This has contributed to develop a viable business model of integrated floating cage aquageoponics system mitigating risks. Through this idea, Montu is growing vegetables and fish together in a pond. This farming opportunity has been a life changing experience for him. Now he doesn’t have to worry about his earnings and he can also ensure food supply for his family. He is even working as an ambassador of the technology in his area. He is helping other farmers in his area by sharing his expertise. Bangladesh is widely recognised as one of the countries that is most vulnerable to climate change. In the coastal areas, soil salinity escalates severely. These places cover more than 30% of the cultivable lands of the country, of which, about 53% are affected by soil salinity, a major indicator to climate change. In 1960s, 139 polders were constructed in these areas, where 8 million people live on 1.2 million hectares of land. In the polder, water canals and ponds, salinity is higher in dry season. Due to salinity, shrimp farming has increased, but the farmers are struggling to farm other fish species. On the other hand, the low lands go under water, so the vegetables can only be grown in raised dykes, hanging pots or floating beds/pots. These are causing unfavourable conditions, restricting normal production throughout the year. Aquageoponics and similar other farming solutions can revolutionise future sustainable farming as it has the potential to give access to waterbody for the poor and commercial entrepreneurs, control water pollution during intensification. Many farmers like Montu Mia have tested this option this year and the results surprised them as well. More research can be conducted to pilot variety of crops and fish species. The innovation can turn out to be a very useful tool to fight climate change and food security risks.

Sandbar croppers use reservoir-based irrigation system connected to the river channel for the bulk of the plant’s growing seasons, thus saved over 117 percent in water consumption last year compared to flooding irrigation methods. This improved irrigation method minimises water loss in order to save energy & excessive dependency on ground water and reduce the cost of production while securing water for crop production, which is a priority for the country facing climate change. photo: habibur rahman | 2016 | kurigram

to secure water for food sandbar croppers altogether

saved 205M litres of water

using improved irrigation system

that would fill over

882 olympic swimming pools


photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | jashore

Bangladesh, combined with its population density and economic environment, is among the most disaster-prone and climate vulnerable countries in the world and is frequently hit by tropical cyclones associated with storm surges, floods, severe thunderstorms, and drought, with significant losses of lives and substantial costs to the economy. Godkhali – an area in the disaster vulnerable southern part of Bangladesh, surrounded by bountiful of natural endowments - is well known for flower harvesting. Around the year the harvesters maintain their livelihood with threats of natural calamities and lack the availability of proper weather information. Mr. Rahman, a small scale flower harvesters of Godkhali, had a beautiful smile on his face due to bumper production of flowers in the first quarter of the year. During the tropical storm season in April, Bangladesh Meteorological Department forecasted a heavy rainfall, a potential threat to Mr. Rahman’s flower production. Despite the incoming risk, Mr. Rahman not being aware of this threat had plans to cut off flowers from the field and prepare to sell those to large-scale buyers within the very next night which was supposed to be transported to the capital city for selling at a higher price. Just when the disaster could blemish this farmer's livelihood, Practical Action with its very own voice blast application and servers reaches Mr. Rahman and delivers him the information of heavy rainfall. Trusting this information, Mr. Rahman held back from cutting off flowers from the field and waited till the rainfall had stopped. Meanwhile, buyers could not reach the destination during that calamity. All this sums up to a happy scenario, where this small, yet effective weather information saved Mr. Rahman from experiencing a dreadful loss. The authenticity of Practical Action's activity earned strong credibility among fellow farmers of Mr. Rahman via word of mouth. Now hundreds of farmers in that region trust Practical Action for its appropriate localised support. Practical Action is providing this service in disaster vulnerable southern districts of Jashore, Satkhira, and Khulna. We have also established an Automatic Weather Station to gather more accurate information from the field and receive weather information of these three districts from Bangladesh Meteorological Department, who are running two separate models - Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast. Based on that, Practical Action has created an expert pool in affiliation with Department of Agriculture extension. The experts then generate an advisory which is appropriate for the field level farmers and validate it from agriculture offices. The advisory is then sent among clients using Practical Action's own voice blast application and servers. The cost of per minute call and rate of dissemination per minute has decreased significantly. It brings us tremendous joy when we can put a smile on our farmers’ faces - the people who work day and night to provide crops, fruits, flowers and everything we need in our daily lives.

Community people are listening to the voice message on flood early warning. Flood has been wreaking havoc in Bangladesh for years. The flood warning system was expected to be significantly effective for reducing the loss from the disaster. But currently, the technical warnings disseminated, are not intelligible enough for mass people. Practical Action has been addressing this issue by disseminating early warning messages with contextual interpretation on early precipitation, excessive rainfall, hailstorm and cold-wave among local farmers through ICT enriched information system. photo: dipankar dipu | 2017 | sirajgonj

like Rahman, more than

56,500 people received flood early warning messages with contextual interpretation

jointly with RIMES (Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning System) and AIS (Agriculture Information Service) in Sirajgang, Bogura, Jashore, Khulna, Dinajpur, Rajshahi and Satkhira via


digital weather information boards


voice messages in cellphones


trained local resilience agents

we conducted an impact study in 2017 and according to that, amongst the people who received warnings in cellphones in Sirajganj


relocated their valuables to safety


protected their education materials

Sometimes the most treasured possessions are not objects. The picture shows a couple bathing their two cows in the pristine green water, which beautifully captures their attachment. They were able to save their livestock, their only asset, during the devastating 2017 floods. photo: shamim shorif susom | 2017

Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2016 came to an end with the adoption of our policy priority agenda

Increase investment in the Multi Hazard Early Warning System and dissemination channels in New Delhi Declaration

scan the QR code to read our policy brief on

Cost Benefit Analysis of Flood Warning: Limitation, Challenge and Prospect

Chobi Rani (42) is walking with her sheeps. She grows vegetable in the dyke of their pond and bought two sheeps with the profit generated. The sheeps have then given birth to two infants. This delightful anecdote shed lights on how her family achieved resilience gradually through asset generation. The poor farmers of Satkhira typically have less land for farming. Dyke gardening has emerged as a wonderful solution to increase their yields in that regard. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | satkhira

all these inspiring stories of becoming resilient gradually, fighting against the vulnerability to climate change, were made possible

for our passion about going above and beyond through

technological innovations

Two women are tending to their crop in a dyke adjacent to their home. Coastal areas are characterised by high salinity content and waterlogging, making them unsuitable for most forms of crops. By the means of sack and dyke gardening families like them are now able to grow crops not only for their personal consumption but are also able to make significant profit. photo: plaban ganguly

we supported the farmers by promoting

climate smart agriculture and ensured their access to improved

agricultural inputs, technologies,

services and market linkages


photo: plaban ganguly | 2018 | satkhira

With a growing demand for exporting crab, the practice of crab nursery is now increasing within the fish farmers of Bangladesh. Globally, 40 species of crabs are being traded, of which, 16 species are found in Bangladesh. Four of these 16 species are of freshwater origin and the rest are of marine water origin. Mr. Krisnapado Pike is a fish farmer living in the Southern part of Bangladesh. He is one of those farmers who has been selected by Practical Action to try out this initiative through Participatory Rural Appraisal. Krisnapado’s primary source of livelihood is natural forest and river, which made him an excellent choice for this initiative. He also has knowledge and experience in crab fattening and the minimum amount of land for creating a crab farm. Krisnapado, along with other selected farmers, received training on crab nursery management. In the beginning, they have learned about the importance of crab nursery management, type of crab available in Bangladesh, lifecycle of crab, water quality, Nursery preparation, feeding, fertiliser applications and other basics to build their own crab nursery. The training was conducted with the help of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI) and World Fish. To start the work, crablets were collected from fishermen. A pond was identified for nursery establishment, based on the availability of saline water, transportation facility, sources of crablet and crab grow-out farming facility, and marketing facilities. And then, Krisnapado built a Gher, which is a small space inside pond surrounded by a bamboo fence, for harvesting. Both organic and inorganic fertiliser was used in the Gher. Among the organic fertilisers, Krisnapado used rice burn, molasses and yeast powder. And for inorganic fertilisers, urea and TSP were used in the Gher. Few local vendors were able to provide the feed for those crablets so we connected the farmers with them. And through this market linkage, Krisnapado and rest of the farmers managed to collect the feed regularly. The whole process was not always simple. Krisnapado went through some challenges while working on the nursery. The Gher dried out after harvesting the crab and to solve this issue, lime was applied to the bottom of it. The main objectives of lime application in crab nursery are to maintain the pH of nursery water, suitable for natural feed production and to destroy different types of germs and parasites and to improve the efficiency of the applied fertiliser. Through this system, they harvested 196 kgs of juvenile crabs within 45 to 60 days, which are worth more than Sixty Thousand Taka (around USD 750). The major investment was the waterbody preparation, which included dyke renovation, removal of mud from the bottom of the Gher, fertiliser, lime. This cost around Ten Thousand Taka (around USD 120). Another crucial investment was crablet and feed cost. Since the crab nursery was not too far from the house, Krisnapado’s wife, Puspa Rani Pike, mostly looked after the nursery and provided feed to crablets. It was convenient for her to manage it along with the domestic activities. This is how Krisnapado and many other farmers were trained to build crab nursery and managed to develop their capacities as crab farmers.

Sack gardening, a tool to become resilient using agriculture for thousands of poor people fighting against the saline intrusion, water logging, crisis of fresh water for irrigation, and degradation of soil health. As an alternative source of income, sack gardening is showing hope to the climate vulnerable farmers to be resilient following zero tillage, minimum pesticides or synthetic fertilisers, minimum water for irrigation and efficient use of land. photo: anwar hossain | 2018 | satkhira

like krisnapado, more than

23,000 farmers are now involved in agro-ecological farming

like sack & dyke gardening, aquageoponics, and shrimp & crablet nursing in Satkhira, Jashore, Khulna, Dinajpur and Rajshahi

70% of them are women

together they produced


vegetables worth

129M BDT


fishes worth

0.3M BDT


crablet worth

0.2M BDT


photo: dipankar dipu | 2017 | faridpur

The livestock sector has been growing significantly in Bangladesh, creating increased income opportunities for both male and female farmers. There is also a huge potential for expanding organically reared livestock products, which currently has a niche market at both the urban and rural level. Household consumers, restaurants, super-shops are regular consumers of these products. During seasonal festivals such as Eid-Ul-Azha, the demand for livestock products increase significantly. However when it comes to information solutions related to livestock management, farmers depend and rely on government appointed livestock officers the most, who are limited in number and cannot cater to the needs of each and every farmer. Proper access to quality feed and organic inputs is also a major challenge for farmers. As a result, even when farmers get access to finance, they struggle to take effective decisions on managing their livestock properly and sell their cattle at profitable rates. To address these challenges, Practical Action Consulting collaborated with a Micro Finance Institute (MFI) to establish the Livestock Business Centre (LBC) in Faridpur, which is an independent rural enterprise providing one stop solution to farmers. Farmers who register at the Livestock Business Centre get access to finance from the MFI and are also provided relevant farming and business advisory service. LBC has engaged in the capacity building of paravets with the support of government-appointed livestock officers, to enable them to provide timely and accurate information solutions to livestock farmers. LBC has also partnered with one of the leading private livestock feed company, to sell quality cattle feed to farmers. Within a span of 12 months, LBC has sold 42 tons of cattle feed to over 400 farmers within the community. With quality feed and proper farming advice, the farmers are able to sell their cows at profitable rates in the local and national market. To create better market access for farmers, LBC has also partnered with an institutional buyer, who purchases cows produced by LBC farmers and sells them as processed meat in the urban market. In addition to that, LBC has also established an online portal, which is a trading platform that allows registered farmers to advertise their cows to various users with detailed information and sell to potential buyers in Dhaka. LBC also realizes that rural farmers require agriculture-related information in addition to livestock-related information, as most of the farmers produce a diversified set of products such as vegetable, rice and other crops. Hence to assist farmers further, LBC plans to expand its service portfolio through provisions of quality agriculture input products and information solutions. The Livestock Business Centre has the vision to continue helping farming communities as an independent and commercially sustainable business hub, which has the potential to be replicated in other parts of the country as well.

Rokeya (36) is nurturing her cow. She received training on cow-fattening technology and has now become a successful cow rearer. She also grows high yielding grass at homestead for her cattle and to reduce wastage, she uses improved grass-cutting tool. As a result, her cow fattening cost has been reduced significantly. Farmers nearby buy grass from her. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | jashore

like these farmers, more than

44,000 people received services like deworming, vaccination, linkages with private sectors, balanced feed production, high-yielding grass cultivation, organic meat production, etc. in Sirajgonj, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Bogura, Satkhira, Gaibandha, Jashore, Khulna and Faridpur

Karimullah (47) is looking at the drone camera while fishing in the river. He is an extreme poor farmer and was displaced three times by river erosion. Previously, selling labour was the main source of his income. During monsoon, he used to suffer most as it was very hard to find a job then, which adversely affected his livelihood. But now, the scenario has been changed. Since 2015, he has been cultivating pumpkin in the sandbars. He stores a large amount of pumpkin for selling during off season to cover his earning-gap. photo: salman saeed | 2018 | kurigram

this is how we transformed

agriculture as a tool for increasing resilience

of 67,262 people in need

Sabita (39), a santal woman, is nurturing her hens. She has been rearing around 100 chickens in between her household chores. Many such women, with the proper knowledge on chicken rearing and linkages with microfinance institutions for credit services, have now become self-sufficient. They are also availing services like buying feed, selling chicken, etc. from the Rural Sales and Service Centre (RSSC) run by the community people. This participatory market system engages private sectors and enhances the negotiation skill and scope of fair trade among the producers and traders. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | dinajpur

providing support to mainstream

300 dalits, adivasis and persons with disabilities in the market value chain has built our confidence

to move a step forward

we believe

lasting change is achieved not just by the direct delivery of projects, but by making

knowledge available to all

and to accelerate the change

we inspire government

agencies & institutions to adopt approaches and policies

favourable to the poor

Krishi Call Centre has brought a smile to the face of Rahim Mia (57) by providing immediate and effective solution to his problem. He was worried about getting poor yield due to blast attack just before harvesting. With the commercialisation and diversification of farming, change in climate, increase in use of farm inputs, framers traditional knowledge is no longer sufficient to find solutions. They need advanced and real-time, both external and local knowledge to solve their problems and yield to the fullest. Krishi Call Centre is working to bridge the farmers with an ICT enriched knowledge information system. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | jashore


16123 Krishi Call Centre

a call centre to reach the last mile more than 77,000 people called around 150,000 times

to seek solutions on agriculture, livestock and fisheries related problems we conducted an impact study in 2017, according to which 6% of the respondents found the information was insufficient, 28% of respondents believed that information was appropriate to some extent, 62% of the respondents found the information they received was appropriate. regarding applicability of the received knowledge into action, it was found that 75% repeatedly applied, 95% shared the information with others and 97% applied in their work, was a notable success.

our amazing

practical answers

web and app clocked around

5,000 tacks this year from Bangladesh


grab a cup of coffee AND ENJOY A DRAMA ON

TREASURE HUNTING by scanning the qr code below

Renowned actors Riaz and Nawshaba in a scene of Practical Action’s social awareness drama, highlighting Faecal Sludge Management. The drama tells the story of a man who embarks on an unconventional entrepreneurial venture of collecting faecal sludge from residences and producing organic fertiliser from it. As the drama unfolds, it unveils the deep-seated stigma and malpractices associated with faecal sludge management. photo: gunjan barua | 2017 | faridpur

meadia reach:

pre-reach: news links


334,000+ page reach

(within 7 days after publishing)

67% 5%


videos posts


93.4K VIEWS of all the trailers of the drama in facebook


trailer 1 version 1


trailer 1 version 2

FM 3 TV channels 1 radio papers & 30+ news online portals

covered the news TV reach:

7.3M PEOPLE watched the show in TV post-reach:



trailer 3

181K+ till date

92% watched more than 30 mins

700+ shares




*according to the TRP provided by the TV channel with the support from Serious Media Research Company ltd.

a motivational drama on Faecal Sludge Management

Abdullah (25), an employee of the FSM plant in Faridpur is working at the maturation pond. The plant, covering 1.5 acres of land, has the treatment capacity of 42 cubic metre and compost production capacity of 100 tons per year, considering the population growth for the next 30 years. There is a compost research & training centre at the plant site with a capacity of 30 persons. The plant has been leased out to a private agency for operation, production and marketing of the compost. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | faridpur

we helped manage more than

2,661 cubic metre of faecal sludge and 1,830 MT of solid waste in Faridpur, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Gazipur and Gaibandha

that would fill over

4 Old Trafford grounds or 4.5 Anfield grounds by a depth of 6 inch


photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | faridpur

The Harijans, Hindu by religion, are emptying the subcontinental people’s pits since last two centuries. In 1969 some Muslim people evolved as pit emptiers. Halim Sarder was the first ever Muslim Sweeper in Faridpur who started serving the municipal dwellers with 6 other fellows. They settled in Laxmipur slum after independence and their third generation is serving presently. Rafiq Sheikh is one of them. Though Muslim Sweepers have started serving the municipality since 1969, but they never get paid enough to meet anything beyond their core needs like food, shelter, and clothes. Education and medical facilities were beyond their imagination In 1988, Rafiq Sheikh became the leader of Muslim Sweepers, who was the first person to dream of an cooperative of their own and that dream finally got a shape in 2006, after many failed attempts. It was a 1 taka per day savings scheme that successfully continued up to 2011; but some internal clash and fraud ruined this initiative. Again in 2014, they reunited and this time, Practical Action helped them to choose the functionality of their cooperatives and facilitated them to get connected with the Municipality to become a formal enterprise. In 2016, the cooperative got registered under the Department of Cooperatives and signed a service level agreement with the Municipality. As per the contract, they started giving mechanised pit emptying services from August 2016, leasing in the vacuum truck owned by Municipality. It brought their luck back and one third of their income from pit emptying service started going to their cooperative along with their regular savings. By the end of 2016, an audit report (done by Department of Cooperatives) shows they got BDT 1.1 million in their bank account as savings and an additional 0.15 million has been distributed as a loan, among the members. The modern pit emptying, using proper safety gears, is also saving them from unwanted accidents, which was a severe problem in the past. Thirty one members founded this cooperatives back in 2014 and now the number has extended to 105 members. Most importantly, female have come forward to become entrepreneurs. Now the cooperative have 12 female members. Thy not only saves money for its members, but also provides financial support in emergencies and with a simple 3% interest rate. Previously they suffered a lot. In 2010, suddenly the wife of Salim Sheikh, another Muslim sweeper, fell severely ill. The estimated medical expense was not less than 40,000 taka and as like the other Muslim Sweepers Salim Sheikh was out of cash. He managed 12,000 taka, accumulating the last penny he saved. Finally, he had to borrow money from a Mahajan (money lender), with a monthly interest rate of 10%, which was a terrible burden but unavoidable in those situations. This was a usual story and keeps repeating miserably more than once with some of those families, living in Laxmipur slum. But now, the scenario has started changing. They can take loan from their cooperative. So the impacts of forming the business enterprise through cooperative approach are multidimensional and beyond individuals or institutional benefit. The transformation from an informal & an individualised approach to a formal enterprise increased their income, made them more professional, confirmed health & safety, enhanced their planning & negotiation skills, and allowed them to enter the social and power structures. Moreover the cooperative is helping the Muslim sweepers to break the vicious cycle of poverty through enhancing their financial, institutional, and social capacity. It is also helping the members to fight against any kind of emergency.

Happiness of enjoying a dignified life with occupational health and safety shines out of sweeper’s face! Previously they worked with no health and safety amenities, low wage and no recognition for their work. Now, those traditional sweeper communities have been transformed into formal cooperative business entities having own constitution, bank account, and operational management structure in place. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | faridpur

this story also stands for

80 pit emptiers and 139 cleaners

from Satkhira, Faridpur, Jashore, Gaibandha, Bagerhat and Gazipur municipality they now have dignity and better income

POOPSTORY! The fictional king and his queen, holding a platter of poop, describing its importance to his countrymen! This is a scene from a street drama, part of a comprehensive social mobilisation campaign, for safe management of faecal waste. This campaign has successfully increased the demand of FSM service by 42 percent within a year. photo: dipankar dipu | 2016 | faridpur

our environmentally safe, financially sustainable and private sector led

green business model for faecal sludge management

have been adopted by the Government in their Institutional and Regulatory Framework for FSM and in the land use plan proposed by Urban Development Directorate (UDD)

scan the QR code to download the IRF for FSM

this is now the role model for all the secondary towns in Bangladesh

A woman is cooking using the gas produced from waste. The kitchen waste, which is evidently unutilised and pollutes environment, is being collected from around thousand families, and being transformed into source of green energy. Earlier, she used to cook indoor, using an open-fire traditional cooking stove with biomass, without sufficient ventilation that exposed her hugely to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This shift allows a significant decrease in her time, effort and health risks associated with. photo: iqbal hossain | 2017 | bagerhat

37 families

are now enjoying

bio-gas and electricity produced from solid waste in Bagerhat

A child observes and points with enthusiasm at the ongoing mechanised desludging operations. A full-sanitation value chain of FSM has been established in Faridpur. This city-wide FSM service has not only proved to be a financially sustainable and private sector-led replicable model but has also gone great lengths towards making the cities environmentally safe for many, like this child, to enjoy. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | faridpur

this is how we are trying to make cities inclusive

green and safer for

704,000 city dwellers by turning waste into wealth

Eighty thousand tons! That's the amount of faeces, more commonly known as shit, produced in Bangladesh every single day! And, of these huge amount of human waste, guess the number that's being treated each day. Only 1%! Ever wonder what happens to the remaining 99%? People are listening to Hasin Jahan and walking down the road with her while she recounts how she faced this very challenge and turned the problem itself into a solution. photo: collected | 2017 | dhaka

our country director

hasin jahan was honoured

by delivering an inspiring talk in

scan the QR code to

watch the episode


A woman is filling packets with compost, produced from solid waste in Faridpur. A full value chain of waste management, worth around USD5,000 per month, is functioning there for the last 10 years. The plant has been leased out to a private agency who collects the waste from around 6,500 households, treats and sells the compost to the farmers of nearby districts, e.g Rajbari, Magura, Gopalgonj, etc. Many other municiaplities have already started replicating this model. photo: iqbal hossain | 2017 | faridpur

we have proved

waste is worthy! more than

1,500 MT of co-compost

have been produced so far, which epitomised our movement for

improving soil health

58% 41%


from faecal sludge

from vermin

from solid waste

A farmer is applying vermi-compost in his paddy field. Three years ago, he faced severe decline in yield. After that, he tested the soil of his cultivable land and found a deficiency of organic matters. Now with the support from Krishi Call Centre, he has started using vermi-compost. He buys the compost from nearby Rural Sales and Service Centre. photo: plaban ganguly | 2018 | jashore

how is the soil health in Bangladesh now?

watch the film

leave your opinion join our movement


photo: iqbal hossain | 2017 | jashore

Swapna Begum is a farmer from the southwestern part of Bangladesh. In the rural areas, people are mostly dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. But recently, the number of arable lands is decreasing as the soil is worsening because of extreme use of chemical fertiliser. The effects of chemical fertilisers are not widely spoken about and this happens partially because the remains are largely untested. Soil health relies on a balance of macronutrients and micronutrients, as well as microbial health. It is way more complicated than simply adding nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to the ground and thinking the job is done! There's a common practice among our farmers to use an excessive amount of fertilisers without understanding the nature of the soil. As a result, the soil texture is deteriorating and at the same time, farmers are spending more on agricultural inputs. Good yield depends on nutrient status and organic contents of soils to a great extent. To explain it in simpler language, organic contents in soil strata hold the water, nutrient within it and facilitate plants to absorb the same. That’s why it's important to bring balance in applying fertilisers and to promote organic compost for a better soil health. To encourage this practice, Practical Action is promoting eco-friendly farming system, of which, the use of the vermicompost has been introduced among farmers of Jashore, Khulna, Satkhira, Dinajpur, and Rajshahi. Vermicomposting is the use of earthworms to convert waste to a 100% natural plant fertiliser. Vermicompost production is trending worldwide and it is finding increasing use especially in Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia. The most important feature of this organic compost is that it’s 100% organic. There are no harmful chemicals and it does not need to be mixed with anything. Vermicompost enhances plant growth, suppresses disease in plants, increases porosity and microbial activity in soil, and improves water retention and aeration. It also benefits the environment by reducing the need for chemical fertilisers and decreasing the amount of waste going to landfills. Shwapna Begum is one of those farmers to receive the training and other materials for nursing vermicompost. Now, she produces around 250 kgs of vermicompost, selling them for BDT 15 per kg and making approximately BDT 3,750 per month. Shwapna sells the vermicompost to individual farmers and through Rural Sales and Services Centre (RSCC). The concept of RSSC was implemented for the first time by Practical Action. It is a place of transactions of goods and services among buyers and sellers at rural level. The need of Rural Sales and Service Centre - RSSC was emerged to fulfill the gap of an organisation through which smallholders would become collectively more efficient and competitive and capture a greater share of the value chain of the market system. This is how we encourage and empower women farmers. This does not only help with the soil health but also support the working women to get connected with the market.

A farmer from Faridpur is taking care of his vegetables. He grows vegetables using co-composts manufactured from solid wastes. He regularly tests the soil health from a local entrepreneur. According to the result, he fixes the amount, dosage and nature of the fertilisers to be applied in the field. Because of the huge demand for safe vegetables in the local market, he is now earning more. Taking inspiration from his success, many other farmers have started applying co-compost in their fields. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | faridpur

swapna inspired us valiant to unite

more than 5,500 farmers 17 small entrepreneurs and 535 organic compost producers

under a community-based movement in Faridpur, Jashore, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Khulna and Satkhira for improving soil health by

promoting balanced use of organic and chemical fertiliser

A child from Khulna, one of the coastal districts of Bangladesh is quenching his thirst with rainwater. Millions of people, like this boy, largely depend on rainwater as a major source of fresh water due to acute salinity. Except pond water, all the water treatment technologies are not affordable for the poor communities. The lack of access to clean water leads to increased incidence rate of diseases, lower attendance rates at schools and work, and a drastic reduction in overall quality of life. It is estimated that four out of five cases of child mortality in these areas are related to contaminated drinking water. photo: avijit nandy | 2016 | khulna

healthy soil is a must

for safe future so is safe water

for safe living

Afroza, an 8th grader in Cox’s Bazar has been a champion for water safety in her school. Previously she used to drink contaminated water from different unsafe sources. Like Afroza, around 12,400 students from 90 different schools now have become the future leader for implementing Water Safety Plan (WSP) for healthy living, both in their school and at home. Practical Action has Implemented WSP as a cost-effective, management oriented, and preventive approach to water safety for enabling millions to better prepare themselves for safe operation & maintenance of water sources, preservation and hygienic consumption. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | cox’s bazar

for the first time, we impelled

1M people to keep water safe

from source to containment to use in Pirojpur, Barguna, Cox’s Bazar, Faridpur, Habigonj, Khulna and Naogaon covering 4 different hydro-geographical locations






2017 2018

2017 2018

cleaning water collection pots

keeping the pots covered

98% 77%


2017 2018

2017 2018

storing pots cleaning glasses in safe places before drinking

Besides these major impacts, according to a study conducted in 2018 on Water Safety Plan inplementation shows that previously only 18% people knew about keeping the water safe properly, which now stands at 67%. Collectively safe water use has contributed to good health of 73% of people which increased from 47%.

A smile that brightens the gloomy days! The atrocities of humans have forced this four year old Rohingya child to live in his family’s temporary shelter in Cox’s Bazar, with food, safe water and sanitation in short supply. The risk of waterborne and other diseases is palpable there. He is the most vulnerable, yet he smiles. photo: plaban ganguly | 2018 | cox’s bazar

it’s been an honour supporting

people dignify their lives in

humanitarian emergency situation we stood by more than 60,000 ill-fated people when they were in need of

our expertise the most

A woman and her daughter are carrying 2 bundles of CGI sheet, and crockeries, blankets, handsaw, school bag, mosquito net and bed sheet with two pillow inside a steel trunk. This relief package was distributed to more than 5,500 families aiming at reducing vulnerability of the August 2017 flood affected people in nine sub-districts of Lalmonirhat and Kurigram districts through repairing damaged houses by emergency shelter material and non-food items. photo: anwarul alam | 2018 | lamonirhat

we provided emergency shelter support to

5,610 families affected by flood

in Lalmonirhat and Nilphamari


families were

female headed

A rainproof over-ground faecal sludge treatment unit with up-flow filtration system in Cox’s Bazar. The international community has stepped forward to address many basic needs of the Rohingya community since late August 2017. But, still there is lack of proper sludge management. In most cases faecal sludge is being disposed in open environment posing threat like epidemic outbreak of water-borne and communicable diseases. Considering the challenges like land constraints, landslides, and flush flood in monsoon, photo: plaban ganguly | 2018 | cox’s bazar

we provided humanitarian response with

8 treatment unit

with context specific technology for

safe management of faecal sludge at the world’s largest settlement of about 1M forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals in Cox’s Bazar

photo: gunjan barua | 2017 | gazipur

our team

has a vision for a world where all people have access to the technologies

that enable them to meet their basic needs and rights and reach their potential, in a way that safeguards

the planet today and for future generations

engagement of more than

2M people via 217 media hits

made our demonstrations

a force for good

our social media community

grew by 14%

around 1.2M individuals amplified our voice

all these numbers represent many individuals and stories stories of lives that have been

empowered and transformed

these stories exist because

35 donors, 45 partners and 12 govt. agencies

provided us the strength

A widow from Satkhira is carrying drinking water from a source far away from her home. Satkhira is one of the castal districts in Bangladesh. Scarcity of drinking water is acute here as freshwater aquifers are not available at suitable depths and the surface water is highly saline. In addition, most people in the region are unaware of the water safety plan resulting a major threat to public health. Practical Action is working there to optimise drinking-water safely from catchments to consumer. photo: plaban ganguly | 2017 | satkhira

and most importantly 1.5M courageous people

supported our causes


of them are men


of them are women

we operated in 21 districts of Bangladesh


and received excellent cooperation from all, especially from the communities and govt. authorities
















dhaka office field offices working area


this is not the end. journey for transforning lives continues. we have many more things to

demonstrate, learn & inspire.

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TRACING BACK 2017-18  

APRIL 2017 - MARCH 2018 A JOURNEY IN REVIEW Annual Report | Practical Action | Bangladesh Country Programme

TRACING BACK 2017-18  

APRIL 2017 - MARCH 2018 A JOURNEY IN REVIEW Annual Report | Practical Action | Bangladesh Country Programme