News Desk: Switzerland Ambassador to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard inspected the living, livelihood and traditional cultural activities of the marginalised people, including ethnic minorities, in the drought-prone Barind areas here.
During her two-day visit that ended on Wednesday, the envoy enjoyed traditional reception by Oraon and Santal ethnic community at Koyelhat in Tanore Upazila of Rajshahi and at Nadupara in Gomostapur upazila of Chapainawabganj districts.
Along with attending discussions on socio-economic livelihood conditions of plain land ethnic minorities in Barind, the diplomat witnessed two development projects including Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) project and Resilience to Economic Volatility of Indigenous and Vulnerable Populations through Empowerment (REVIVE).
Side by side with meeting with members of the water resources management committee in the water scarce areas, the ambassador visited IWRM project including ponds centered livelihoods of ethnic minority people.
She also witnessed collaborative initiative of the IWRM and REVIVE projects for water support together with sharing ideas of sustainability of both the projects with the local government bodies.
She also shares experiences of how human rights defenders are working as self-defense teams to protect girls from eve teasing.
She also met with the student forum members who are working as human rights defenders.
DASCOH Foundation and Swiss Red Cross are jointly implementing the IWRM project in drought affected 42 union Parishads and three Pourasabhas under eight upazilas of Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts supported by Switzerland since 2015.
The project intends to supply safe drinking water in drought-prone areas where an acute drinking water crisis exists. Its main objective is to supply round-the-year potable water to all people in the targeted area.
It has also been implementing the REVIVE project in cooperation with HEKS/EPER supported by Switzerland since mid last year for contributing to the holistic development of disadvantaged communities, including 80 per cent ethnic minorities.
The project is being implemented in six unions of Nachole and Gomostapur Upazilas in Chapainawabganj district.
Among others, Amitabh Sharma from Red Cross, Dora Choudhury from HEKS, SDC Program Manager Sabina Yeasmein, DASCOH Chief Executive Officer Akramul Haque, HEKS Program Manager Bhupesh Roy and IWRM Project Coordinator Jahangir Alam Khan accompanied the envoy during her two-day visit.