GonoGobeshona: Solving Adaptation Problems Collectively in Bangladesh

Sajid Raihan, of ActionAid Bangladesh,  recently sent me their climate change adaptation newsletter—Climation. Sajid is the Manager of Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction for ActionAid Bangladesh.

ActionAid Bangladesh started a new project a few years ago on promoting active citizenship through people’s (participatory) research—or GonoGobeshona. For them, people’s research is a process facilitating vulnerable people to come together and discuss their problems and identify their solutions; it is a means to empower themselves to analyze their own problems and think of possible solutions according to their knowledge and understanding.

The process begins with a participatory drawing of a social map indicating vulnerabilities, and the sources of vulnerabilities and disasters.

Upon completing a list, they prioritize one problem and analyze it using a Problem Tree where the root cause and outcomes of the problems can be identified. Then the team uses a Capacity Wheel To analyze the community’s own capacity to implement solutions, identify areas where they require support, and to make a list of the institutions that they could get support from.

The end result of GonoGobeshona is the community’s collective realization and ownership of the problem. GonoGobeshona enhances the communities capacity through active participation in the development process.

Says Sajid, “GGD members tend to have a bigger picture of what is happening, how, why, and their role as a community. One positive outcome is GonoGobeshona’s effect on community members level of understanding of climate change and adaptation issues. Members of these groups tend to be highly motivated and manage time to sit together and find out a solution to their problems through participatory research; they must establish themselves as the drivers of their own development.”
This newsletter also gave four examples of solutions to adaptation challenges including a micro-enterprise solution, the solution to a village’s water scarcity, advocacy for gaining support, and the reopening of a community clinic.
The newsletter concludes with saying that the GonoGobeshona”process envisages a community’s transformation from passive aid recipient to an informed proactive group of people who understands the dimensions of existing development challenge and possesses information, capacity, and the skills to tackle forthcoming uncertainties. They will welcome outside support but only if it aids in implementing their assessed solution and accept their role as think tank capable of thinking globally and acting locally.”

I was very impressed when I read this newsletter because it clarifies many of my own thoughts about community-based adaptation to climate change. The writing is clear and the philosophy is very sound. I can’t recommend this report enough. You can download Climation here.


Tim Magee
Executive Director

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