|Advocating for rights to safe water in Bangladesh|
In Bangladesh, CARE’s analysis of the national level context, combined with participatory research data, led to a logical focus on the right to safe water for the advocacy component of the project. The goal of the campaign was to get the government to provide safe water to vulnerable populations, and to address the problem of saline intrusion, in the south-western part of the country.
CARE and civil society partner the Pani Committee launched a grassroots campaign to mobilize citizen support of the issue. This was a multifaceted effort involving a number of initiatives, including a letter campaign to the Prime Minister which led to over 10,000 letters from residents describing their struggles to access water, and demanding action to provide safe water; district rallies that attracted hundreds of residents; and a symbolic strike attended by national political leaders and Members of Parliament, who urged the government to take action on the water crisis.
The pleas for safe water found a receptive audience, evidenced by the resulting commitments of government leaders. Following the actions by CARE, partners and communities, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a directive to relevant ministries to address the potable water issue in the southwest region. A second example is the allocation of resources by the Prime Minister for the public health department to work on water supply in the region.
From a strategic perspective, the project illustrates how efforts to mobilize grassroots action and to constructively engage with policymakers can work in effecting change. Through this collaboration, combined with the strengthened capacity of the local partner organizations, CARE and its partners have made great headway in creating an enabling environment for adaptation.
The Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change (RVCC) Project in Bangladesh was implemented with funding gratefully received from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The project is now complete.