Youths in Tala Upazila discuss local problems and solutions

Our Active Citizens from Tala Upazila, Satkhira took a step forward to save the river Kapotakkho through better implementation of govt. initiated Tidal River Management (TRM) project and helped conserve local wetland bodies.

Waterlogging due to river sedimentation, land-grabbing operations, and destruction of wetland have placed the people of Tala Upazila are in an unusually tricky position. The government's TRM project in Kapotakkho River is helping to solve the growing crisis. However, the lack of knowledge and understanding in the local communities regarding the project is significantly hindering the progress. Local NGOs and Civil society organisations are working to resolve this problem, but no definite change has taken place until now.

Unlike the older generation, the youth members of the affected communities were never too involved in the movement to save Kapotakkho river or the wetlands. They thought of migrating to urban areas once the whole area flooded. After receiving the Active Citizens Youth Leadership Training by Uttaran, the young Active Citizens felt encouraged to work on this issue. They began to understand that it is possible to save their land by preventing the Kapotakkho river from waterlogging.  They initiated a Social Action Project (SAP) named 'Revive the Tidal Rivers' building on the existing legacy of "Paani Committee" - a local civil society movement that works alongside the government to ensure better participatory water governance in the area. The goal of their SAP was to improvise the system initiatives in place, and also to keep urging local administrations and elected representatives to save Kapotakkho river through better implementation of the TRM project and to help local wetland bodies to adapt to the climate change.

Youth leaders from 'Revive the Tidal Rivers', with the help of other local educational institutions, trained over 350 young people in the importance of protecting water bodies and the adverse impacts of climate change. The SAP also initiated a signature campaign featuring a pictorial representation of the harmful effects of climate change if the water bodies are not protected. They also hosted the biggest youth-led human chain in Tala Upazila to ensure proper and timely implementation of the TRM project in the area. These initiatives led to a positive change in the local youth population of the region and they were seen more engaged in the movement.

Furthermore, the SAP focuses on sharing knowledge about ways to live with nature by establishing clubs in schools and colleges. For this, they have formed an after-school weekly climate-change discussion centre in Tala public library, where the Active Citizens engage with fellow youths to discuss local climate changes and how to resolve problems.

Additionally, they are collaborating with local authorities to introduce nature-based study tours in the local school and college curriculums so that the future generations can learn how to identify and report wetland grabbing activities to the local authorities and to better adapt to climate change.

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