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CASE STUDY: Women-led forums enhance livelihoods and reduce risks to climate hazards

This case study highlights the role of women-led forums in enhancing livelihoods and raising womens’ voices in local planning and decision-making.

In Bangladesh, women are often more vulnerable to climate hazards than men, as their mostly farming-based livelihoods are highly vulnerable to flooding and cyclones. However, women are often left out of community decisions and their views are not incorporated into climate change adaptation planning or disaster-risk reduction activities.

Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB), with Christian Aid, has been forming women-led People’s Forums throughout the country to mobilise community development, including enhancing livelihoods and raising womens’ voices in local planning and decision-making. One particular forum, the Basundhara Forum in Gopalganj district, has been particularly successful in providing training for alternative livelihoods and reducing vulnerability to climate hazards.

Key messages from this case study include:

  • Community cooperatives owned and led by women  not only enhance livelihoods and incomes, but can also build confidence over time to engage more actively in decision-making at the local government level.
  • In Bangladesh, in addition to contributing to community development, women-led “People’s forums” have played active roles in climate change adaptation, including participatory vulnerability assessments, adaptation planning and training in climate change and gender-sensitive adaptation.
  • Building soft skills such as leadership and organisation helps to sustain the impacts of enhanced technical capacity related to alternative livelihood options.

Photo: A woman working on her vegetable farm in Khulna, Bangladesh. Credit: M. Yousuf Tushar, WorldFish

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