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Social Transformation towards Model Villages

Multiple Authors

VSO Bangladesh: Securing livelihood with GBK Rangpur from Carolien Pronk on Vimeo.

The Challenge

The rural communities in Bangladesh mainly rely on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods, supplemented with other sources of income. The food that is produced offers the basic nutritional needs and income for the family. However, due to climate change people’s livelihoods are threatened. In the North people are confronted with severe droughts, while in the South people are facing salinity, causing in both areas crop failures. In order to survive, Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) Bangladesh supported the most poor and vulnerable people with the development of alternative livelihoods. International volunteers together with the national volunteers and people’s organizations, play a key role in sharing knowledge and skills from which local communities benefit.


VSO Bangladesh included the following stakeholders in each of the activities: local partner organisations, local volunteers and people in the communities.

  • Technical skills were shared between international volunteers, local volunteers and the communities
  • Local service providers and government officers were involved to strengthen the governmental institutional linkages and build their relation with the community people, the local partner organisation and service providers
  • Peer to peer learning
  • Good practices and lessons learned from others were shared through the Horizontal Learning Platform (HLP)
  • Action research andParticipatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) approaches were used in the project

Activities and Results

In order to adapt to the challenges that are caused by climate change, the following alternative income activities were introduced:

  • Using farm and animal waste to make compost fertilizer
  • Promoting dairy cooperatives
  • Integrating Napier grass (drought tolerant) and dairy
  • Promoting the use of biogas plants
  • Combining goat rearing with fruit and vegetable cultivation in dry areas
  • Duck, goat and chicken rearing in saline areas (for commercial aims)
  • Integrating duck and crab rearing
  • Adapting to drought tolerant rice and/or saline tolerant rice
  • Shrimp farming in ponds affected with salinity
  • Adapting handicraft production using local materials


  • Ensure the use of local materials
  • Adopt existing locally developed technologies
  • Include CBO’s to reach many community people, like groups of active citizens, youth clubs, young and senior volunteers, farmer groups, citizen committees, etcetera
  • Collaborate with local government officials and other service providers to strengthen the local institutional linkages


The results of this program was made possible with help of the following international VSO volunteers: Evelyne Ekisa (Kenya), Ramon Martinez (Philippines), Elvira Maria Duka (Philippines),Hansani Samudrika Samarawickrama (Sri Lanka),Collins Mugumya (Uganda), Lule Peter Lajul (Uganda), Fyrn Sadava (Philippines), Carolien Pronk (The Netherlands).



Mohammed Rashid (Program Development and Volunteer Support Officer) [email protected]

Rumana Begum (Program Development and Volunteer Support Officer)[email protected]

PeterLule Lajul (Advisor on Climate Change and Alternative Livelihood) [email protected]

Carolien Pronk (Research Advisor)[email protected]

See more of VSO Bangladesh’s work

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