This morning I had a early start because we had to travel to Mongla, Bagerhat to visit the Shapla Jubo youth club. This was set up in 1978 to create self-employment for young people and over the years has been involved in a number of local projects rebuilding roads to creating bamboo bridges to improve local access, the building up of the local school and the setting up of a farming co-operative to improve the profitability and viability of rice and shrimp production.
VSO have been involved with capacity building for the club They have trained 20 volunteers from the youth club. An international volunter has also working with members on communication, community ownership and youth development. 120 farmers have also been trained in improved fishing techniques.
During my visit I got to hear about the challenges facing people in the local community, particularly due to the climate change and the devastating impact of flooding on the region. However, while floods are very common in the area, perhaps more devastating for the community has been the increased salinity of the water which is permanent and has threatened their livelihood from shrimp production. Training from VSO has allowed the farmers to diversify and cope with the increase in water salinity. I also had the chance to talk to farmers and see their fish farming technique at first hand.