Due to the geographical location, many birds live near the Baliakhali Beel located in Khornia, Dumuria of Khulna division in Bangladesh. However, various community practices such as habitat destruction, hunting and destructive farming practices have reduced the local bird population. During the winter season, migratory birds usually gather in this area. Recently, indiscriminate hunting and trapping have also led to a reduction in migratory bird stocks.

To tackle this issue, the trained youth leaders of our LEAD Bangladesh of this region initiated the "Birds Nest" Social Action Project (SAP). This SAP aimed to preserve the populations of both migratory and local bird species by changing local farming practices and building bird-friendly habitats. To successfully implement the project, the youth required the continued assistance of local communities and local government representatives. Some portions of the local community welcomed the SAP. However, some farmers and hunters hesitated about SAP's impact on their income.

As such, the youth approached the Union Parishad Chairman. With his support, youth could set up clay pots in the trees so that local bird species could build their nests and lay eggs and build bamboo platforms in the fields where birds could sit and find insects. Due to these measures, farmers witnessed a reduction in pests which has led them to reduce the number of pesticides they need. This has convinced farmers to support youth, and they themselves protect the clay pots placed by the SAP.

Combined support from the community and the Chairman has helped the youth tackle the project's biggest challenge: stopping people from hunting birds. While fines from the Chairman have deterred some hunters, community members have taken it upon themselves to discourage hunting and protect existing bird populations.

Conserving birds in Baliakhali beel by LEAD Bangladesh youth leaders

The British Council implemented the Leadership for Advancing Development in Bangladesh (LEAD Bangladesh) project from 2020 to 2022 to empower 3000 young people in Bangladesh, making a positive impact in communities to achieve SDG8, SDG13 and SDG16 through 240 Social Action Projects.