Lead organization: Unnayan Onneshan

Participating organizations (IPSI members):
Forest Peoples Programme

Participating organizations (non-IPSI members): Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development (RCE) Cha Am, with Secretariat at the Sirindhorn International Environmental Park (SIEP) Thailand 

Activity Proposal


The Sundarbans spans the regions of Bangladesh and India, with 62% located in Bangladesh, constituting 39.5% of the total forest area of the country. It is made up of forest and swamp and contains valuable biological resources. Flora and fauna in the Sundarbans support the livelihoods of 3-5 million people of different occupational groups. Over the last few decades, the Sundarbans has, however, been experiencing major ecological and physiographical changes and losing its resources due to both human interventions and climatic changes. Those changes and forest degradation directly affect the livelihoods of the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) in the area. In response to these critical issues, the IPLCs have continuously been trying to cope with changed conditions. However, due to a limited livelihood diversification, the IPLCs still vulnerable due to the depleted natural resources.

This project aims to enhance capacity of IPLCs for livelihood diversification through mangrove forest utilization by producing natural products, for instance, soap, shampoo from Acanthus ebracteaus, Pluchea indica and Volkamerai inermis and natural dyed cloths from Rhizophora mucronata and Ceriops tagal and create a value chain for the products. Thus, the project is expected to enhance livelihood diversification based on biodiversity conservation as well as to the adaptation to climate change for the disadvantaged IPLCs.


The project will be implemented in the areas of three co-operatives in the Sundarbans, namely, Harinagar Bonojibi Bohumukhi Unnayan Samity, Koyra Bonojibi Bohumukhi Unnayan Samity and Munda Adivasi Bonojibi Bohumukhi Unnayan Samity. In order to achieve the objectives mentioned above, the following activities will be implemented:

  • Organize and mobilize the three cooperatives for group consultations to identify the available resources
    Specify the suitable products such as soap, shampoo, and natural dyed fabric to be produced in each cooperative based on their context
  • Training on producing the products in the second and third quarters of the Year1 of the project
    Undertake Cost-Benefit analysis
  • Post-production consultations with the community to identify the most potential products
  • Identifying marketing channels for the products
  • Document, develop, publish, disseminate, and advocate with the relevant organizations and government

Expected Outcomes

  • The three cooperatives gain knowledge to make natural based products from the mangrove forest
  • The products produced by the cooperatives have commercial value
  • The members of the three cooperatives gain additional income from the products
  • The members of the three cooperatives maintain low-impact lifestyle within the vulnerable ecosystem

Actors and task sharing

Three Cooperatives
Gain the capacity building trainings and act as producers of natural based products, giving comments and suggestions to improve the production and marketing of the final products.

Unnayan Onneshan, Bangladesh
The UO plays a key role as an implementer by convening the consultation, training, meeting and project monitoring and evaluation with the project partners. The UO is also currently Chair of IUCN-Bangladesh and Vice-chair of IUCN-Asia.

FPP, the UK
The FPP will share its vast experience of mangrove related activities from its huge network of partners across the world in general and countries having mangrove forests and will help internationalizes the issues and experiences, having access to different platforms, including CBD etc. The FPP is in long-term partnership with the UO and the three cooperatives, spanning over more than a decade.

RCE Cha Am in the Srindhorn International Environmental Park
The Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development (RCE) Cha Am, located in Sirindhorn International Environmental Park, Cha Am, Thailand, has long experience in conducting training for communities around mangrove forest to utilize and produce natural based products, such as soap, liquid soap, balm, shampoo and natural dyed fabric as the alternative livelihood. The RCE Cha Am provides training and technical advices regarding the products and documenting.

Recently, the UO as a Secretariat of Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development (RCE) on the Sundarbans signed an MoU with the RCE Cha Am for collaborations.

Relationship with IPSI Strategy

The project falls in line with all of the four strategic objectives of the IPSI strategy but is significantly relevant to the objectives 3 and 4. Firstly, the project is expected to enhance benefits from socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes for human well-being in the Sundarbans region through supporting indigenous peoples and local communities to govern and manage their resources, and sustain social cohesion and local economies. The project also explores opportunities for branding of products derived from SEPLS, through potential partnerships with the private sector and the further development of market linkages (Objective 2). Secondly, the project aims to enhance human, institutional and sustainable financial capacities for the implementation of the Satoyama Initiative (Objective 4). it is expected that it will be considered in future in policy formulation processes relevant to the nature and environment.

Monitoring and reporting

The project monitoring and reporting will be implemented every quarter by UO together with IPLC representatives. The details of indicators in monitoring and evaluation framework are presented in the figure below. Ongoing project progress will be discussed regularly based on the project schedules.