Disappearing lands

Supporting communities affected by river erosion

This project ended in March 2009, but Practical Action's work with poor communities affected by river erosion continues in the Pathways from Poverty (Shiree) project.

The project ran for five years, from 2004 to 2009, with the mission to address the development needs of the communities, who have been displaced by river erosion and those who are living under the threat of being eroded in the near future.

The five year £1.3 million pound project (funded by Community Fund and several other Trusts and donors) was implemented in four upazila locations in Gaibandha district, a badly affected area in Bangladesh. The project worked in collaboration with 5 local partners NGOs with the aim of:

  • Strengthening and supporting the capacity of the target community and institutions to cope with natural disasters;
  • Providing alternative livelihoods opportunities through, skills development, technology transfer and small enterprise development;
  • Developing and supporting basic infrastructure services (water, health, housing), and enable poor people to access existing government services
  • Raising awareness on basic rights of the community, with particular emphasis on land rights and rights of women.

Area of work

The project activities specifically were providing extensive livelihood skills training and technology support, developing and deploying about 800 community extensionists skilled in various trades, establishing 4 cluster villages, which were equipped with housing, water, sanitation and other health and education services and constructing 3 multipurpose shelters. The project directly reached 20,000 men, women and children within the project period 2004-2009.

Practical Action has played a key role in technology innovation and dissemination, skills training, enterprise development, and other activities related to disaster mitigation, market access and infrastructure services. Partner organisation played a direct role in services such as health and education. The project attempted to take a holistic approach to tackle the poverty situation, mobilising a broad range of interventions to support a sustainable livelihood system among the community.


The River Erosion Project ended in March 2009. This project was part of Practical Action Bangladesh's Reducing Vulnerability programme, and won the Ryutaro Hashimoto APFED Award gold prize. The project's strategic work in indigenous fish species and SRS culture, conservation and extension have been acknowledged and awarded by the Government Department of Fisheries and Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.

Practical Action's work with poor communities affected by river erosion continues in the Pathways from Poverty (Shiree) project.

Coping with Disasters (PDF, 64 pages, 15.4MB)
Gaibandha, located in the North-West of Bangladesh at the meeting point of the rivers Tista and Brahmaputra, is one of the most erosion-prone areas of Bangladesh. Through its award-winning `Disappearing lands: supporting communities affected by river erosion' project, Practical Action Bangladesh helped 20,000 poor families victimised by riverbank erosion. This book contains series of photographs with short notes depicting some project interventions.

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