The CLP Holds a High-Level Workshop on Sustainability
The CLP held a workshop in Bogra on 13th and 14th November to consider and suggest improvements to the sustainability of the programme over the long term. In attendance were many stakeholders, including senior government representatives from the Rural Development and Cooperatives Division, ERD, RDA and IMED, donors (DFID and AusAID), partner projects (such as Shiree and UPPR) and members of CLP staff and representatives of CLP’s implementing organisations. The Secretary of the RDCD Mr. Mihir Kanti Mojumder was the Chief Guest and kindly hosted a workshop dinner.
The first day was dedicated to presentations from the CLP about sustainability and issues impacting sustainability in its major areas of intervention, as well as discussions on how Government, Donors and the Private Sector and NGOs can help to ensure sustainability on the chars. The second day allowed field trips to Gaibandha and to Bogra chars as well as to Bogra slums (the last kindly hosted by UPPR).
The workshop concluded that the CLP is having very positive impacts on the lives of char dwellers and that most of the impacts can be shown to be sustainable over the long term. CLP’s monitoring work shows that the package of interventions provided to people on the chars has a clear impact, the livelihoods of recipients are enhanced, they are more food secure, less vulnerable to flooding while women are significantly more empowered.
A key objective of the CLP is to ensure that improvements remain long after the CLP’s current phase ends in 2016. The workshop considered that certain programme impacts, such as lifting people out of extreme poverty should be largely sustainable. However other activities such as the health and education programmes required additional support by stakeholders to ensure sustainability.
Arif Rahman (DFID) suggested that the workshop represented the beginning of a discussion on the future of the people on the chars, beyond the CLP. The programme is designed to provide the initial momentum for people to lift themselves out of poverty; rather than a permanent safety net for char people. The CLP’s support to participants spans 18 months, after which it is hoped that participants possess the necessary social and economic resources to make further progress without external assistance.
Although there are significant “anti-sustainability” factors permanently impacting on CLP activities (e.g. erosion, health shocks and lack of core services), evidence from participants who left the programme four or five years ago shows that many of the CLP’s impacts are highly sustainable.
The cornerstone of these impacts is the improvements in the livelihoods and asset base of participants. The CLP mostly provides livestock, mostly cattle, together with participant training as well as increasing the availability of veterinary services. This allows many char participants to diversify rapidly their livelihoods away from precarious daily wage labour and to build up assets invested in both livestock and land. This core impact requires little additional support to remain sustainable.
Other inputs evolve into impacts which are less direct. For example, the CLP’s provision of seeds and training for participants to create small gardens is shown to be sustainable when households use their newly acquired skills to cultivate food and cash crops on newly acquired land.
At the workshop, a number of options for further enhancing the sustainability of the CLP’s impacts were discussed. There was a clear consensus that a number of parties – namely government, donors and the CLP itself – have important roles to play in supporting the people of the chars. The workshop instigated a dialogue on the future of this support.