5.30 - 6.30pm
Solar-Powered Floating Schools in Flood-Prone Bangladesh: an Inclusive and Sustainable Solution towards Climate Adaptation
Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha
Following an event on the Dedicated Grant Mechanism for indigenous peoples and local communities, Mr. Mohammed Rezwan presented Shidulai’s project on floating schools powered by solar energy. He started by introducing himself and his project, by showing photos of the project in Bangladesh and how it works. As an architect, Mohamed Rezwan had the idea of designing boats powered by solar energy. Due to global warming, the ice in the Himalaya Mountains is melting, causing increasing floods in Bangladesh. Mr. Rezwan showed photos of the schools destroyed by floods, depriving students from accessing education. He explained that every year, one third of the country floods, destroying hundreds of schools. The floating school boats built by Shidhulai (former Equator Prize winner), powered by solar energy and designed by Mohammed, provide an access to education with the latest technology, including computers, data, and lighting. Shidhulai boats also provide a floating library. Mr. Rezwan then showed a documentary, produced by a film-maker who followed the project for three before making the documentary. The movie showed how floating schools help students getting a good education with electricity and the same required equipment as for any regular school. Additionally, floating boats can be used to train people on climate change adaptation and raise awareness on the magnitude of the situation, especially among illiterate and literate people. Also equipped with a floating garden, the boats provide for several economic activities for communities in Bangladesh. The surplus energy from the boats is used for portable lamps, as the flooding has destroyed all electrical panels. As of last year, 330 schools have been annihilated, causing a lot of student to drop out. Struggling to obtain funding from the government, Mr. Rezwan approached local communities and national foundations, which allowed him to expand his project to the medical field by building floating hospitals. Finally, Mr. Rezwan explained how sustainable farming is used to improve agriculture in villages, more specifically for illiterate people who do not have a stable monthly income. Indeed, floods have caused great damages to agriculture, especially rice, considered to be the most important food in Bangladesh, leading 100,000 former farmer families to become homeless. Mr. Rezwan concluded with a question & answer session before inviting attendees to walk by their exhibition on their way out.
Speaker: Mohammed Rezwan FRSA, Executive Director, Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha
Moderator: Suprakash Paul, Program Manager, Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha
Thematic areas: Traditional Knowledge, Adaptation, Technology
Contact: Mohammed Rezwan
6.45 - 8pm
Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: Insights from Actors and Indigenous Researchers
Comunidad de Historia Mapuche / Mapuche History Community
The panel was directed by Mr. Herson, representing the Comunidad de Historia Mapuche, a center created for studies and investigations about the Mapuche. "Mapuche" is a word composed of two parts: “Mapu”, which means “people”, and “Che” which means earth - meaning the People of the Earth. They are generally living in some parts of Argentina, Chile, and Peru. This discussion touched upon how colonization has affected indigenous peoples, by introducing capitalism and new and unprecedented lifestyles in various communities. Jorge Calbucura, associate professor of sociology, explained that leading a better life is an issue advertised to get indigenous peoples on board with the industrial revolution - without their participation - leading to destructive activities, harmful to their natural environment, their “Che”. The discussion then moved on to the issue of culture. During colonization, it was believed that limited academics and directed knowledge would help indigenous people to achieve their dreams. Thus practicing land grabbing while convincing the indigenous communities that it is in their best interest to cooperate, leading to a battle of ideologies. Jorge closed the panel with a great thought: “We live for a day, for a month, for years, then we die; but this is not how it is supposed to be. We have to think further, beyond death. Let’s not think of climate change as a crisis, but as an opportunity to acknowledge the merited position of indigenous peoples“.
Thematic areas: Traditional Knowledge, Policy, Partnerships
Language of the event: Spanish
Contact: Herson Huinca-Piutrin