Inception Program

Rupantar Eco-Tourism Ltd. started its project ‘Conservation through Ecotourism’ activities through a community engagement and mobilization program. In this regard three community’smobilization meetings were held at three differentvenues in three unions in the project area. A two day long Inception Program started forms Laudobe union. The first meeting was held at Loudobe M. N. Govt. Primary School on 23rd November 2013 at 10:00 AM. Total 60 participants including 20 women were present the meeting while Mr. Nirmolendu Koyal, Chairman of Village-police chaired the meeting.

The 2nd meeting was held at Banishanta Amtola Govt. Primary School in Banishanta union on 23rd November 2013 at 03:30 PM. Total 60 participants including 13 women were present the meeting and Mr. Shudeb Kumar Roy, Chairman, Banishanta Union Pro=ishad presided over the meeting. Professor Md. Wasiul Islam, Forestry & Wood Technology Discipline, Khulna University was the chief guest in both the meetings.Nature physician and president of a development organization DESH Dr. Saiful Islam, Chief Reporter of The Daily Probaha Mr. Shamim Ashraf Shelly, Special Reporter of The Daily Purbanchal Mr. Asaduzzaman Riaz and Khhulna Correspondent of the national Daily The Kaler Kantha Mr. Kaushik Dey Buppy were present in both the meetings as guests of honor.

The 3rd and final meeting was held at Koilashgonj Shaymapada Govt. Primary School in Koilashgonj union on 24th November at 10:00 AM. Among 60 participants including 12 women were present the meeting. Mr. Mihir Kanti Mondol, Chairman, Koilashgonj Union Parishad chaired the meeting. Mr. Narayan Chandra Mandol, Sub-Register, Phooltola, Khulna was the chief Guest, while Manik Chandra Gain, Head Master, Matri Mondir High School, Koilashgonj, Mr. Sunit Kumer Sarker, Social worker, Koilashgonj and Mr. Shwikrity Biswas, teacher, Koilashgonj Shaymapada Govt. Primary School, Koilashgonj were the special guests in the meeting. Managing Director M. Nazmul Azam David of Rupantar Eco-Tourism Ltd. Delivered welcome speech in all the three meeting.

Different occupational groups like fishermen/women, Tailor, Housewives, Farmers, Boatmen, Van Poolers, Bawali, Mouwali, Teachers, Students, Village-Police, Service Holders, Freedom Fighters, Social Workers, journalists, Religious and other social leaders were present in the meetings.

Eco-Tour Guide Training

A four day long Eco-Tour Guides Training Program was held at PARIBARTAN-Khulna seminar hall in Khulna from 12-15th December 2013. The training was inaugurated by the Divisional Forest Officer (East) Mr. JahirUddin Ahmed. Some significant persons like Mr. MokbulHossainMintu, President of Khulna Press Club; Professor Md. Wasiul Islam, Forestry and Wood Technology of Khulna University; Md. Wahidullah, Managing Director of Silver Wave Tours Ltd; Mr. Nazrul Islam Bachhu, owner of Pugmark Tours & Travels were present the session. The opening session was presided by Advocate Abdullah HossainBacchu, President of PARIBARTAN-Khulna.

The training module was prepared and followed contains the introduction to leisure recreation, travel, hospitality, tourism, mass tourism, nature-based tourism or eco-tourism and community-based ecotourism and inter-relationship among these terms. The module ensures to have the skill on the difference between visitors and tourists: Definitions and Classifications, Impacts/Importance of Ecotourism, Components of Ecotourism, Prospects of ecotourism in Bangladesh particularly in the Sundarban, problems of ecotourism development in the Sundarbans and the probable solutions,Community based (Eco) tourism (CBET) etc. the concepts of tour guiding and ceo-tour guiding, Necessities of eco-tour guiding as a profession, Characteristics of eco-tour guides,Requirements and responsibilities of the eco-tour guides, Tourism Ethics, Do’s and Don’ts, Communication process, Behavior Geography of tourism and tourist, Psychology of tourists and Map reading. The introduction of weather and Climate: Tidal and signal system, Addressing adverse weather condition, etc. The eco-cottage homestay program development for tourist accommodation near Sundarban, initiatives to develop eco-cottage, site selection for eco-cottage, problems of eco-cottage, measures to overcome problems or short comes, purposes of eco-cottage to the ecotourism, responsibilities of eco-tourguides to develop eco-cottage in Sundarban adjacent area.

Training Program on Folk Culture for Development

The inauguration Program of the Training on Folk Culture for development held on 24th January 2014 in Koilashgonj Shaymapada Govt. Primary School at 10:00 AM. Mr. Sunit Kumar Sarker, The Indigenous Prudent Person and Social Development Worker Chaired the opening session. There were many representatives from Social & Cultural Sector, Farmers, Fishermen, Tailors, Housewives, Students, Govt. Officials including Sundarban dependent professionals attended in this occasion including ProfessorGouranga Kumer Roy, Principle of Chalna College, Mr, Rabindranath Mondol, UP Member (Ward-4) Koilashgonj, Rina Sarder, UP Member (Ward-7,8,9,), Mr. Mihir Ranjan Sarker, Retired Headmaster of Govt. Hogh School, Mr. Monoj Mondol, Executive Director of Adity, Mr. Sikriti Prosad Mojumder Headmastr of Shaymapada Govt. Primary School, Mr. Hridoy Krishna Mondol, renowned social worker and Mr. Debashish Roy, Teacher of West Dhangmari School. In the occasion Mr. Ponchanon Biswas, Parliament Member of Khulna-1, Mr. Abul Hossain, Dacope Upazila Chairman, Sree Sanjit Kumar Mondol, Mr. Shaikh Jubayer, Sree Binoy Krisna Roy, Ex-Upazila Chairman, Sree Mihir Mondol, UP Chairman of Koilashgonj, Education Specialist Professor Sree Narayan Chandra Roy and Social Worker were present.

The project demonstration arranged at Sarker Bari in Bonloudobe, Koilashgonj. Cultural team performed drama, songs, dance and Potgan in front of the guests. During this time handicrafts and swing items with Sundarbans background like men and women dresses, mobile cover, cushion cover, wall mat, side bag and Nakshikatha etc were displayed through stalls.

Training Program on Handicrafts for Alternative Livelihood

Three unions of Dacope upazilla (Sub-district) under Khulna district were selected for the training programs. The three unions were Banishanta, Loudobe and Koilashgonj. The training schedule was between 12/02/2014 to 15/03/2014. Each Training Program was continued for 20 working days. Total 49 vulnerable women participated training from 3 unions. 40 of them were housewives and union completed their training course on handicrafts. After the completion of training courses every group made a team. Each team is now producing handicrafts products with the assistance of Rupantar Eco-Tourism Ltd. Every training program started with an inaugural meeting organized by Rupantar Eco-Tourism Ltd. The first training program started its operation at Banishanta union on 12th February 2014 at 10:00Am. The second at Koilashgonj on 12th February 2014 at 2:00 PM and the third at Loudobe on 13th February 2014 at 10:00 AM started its operation. Coordinator of this project Mr. Murad Hossen conducted all the training programs while Mr. Mustahidur Rahman felicitated with the cooperation of local government officials and community leaders as well.

School Outreach Program

A campaign program was organized by Rupantar Eco-TourismLtd. On the topic of “Climate Change & Sundarban Conservation” among 1500 high school and 2400 primary school students in the project implementation area. More than 120 teachers of the schools were involved with the event as well to achieve the event’s goal. The event was successfully organized by following significant number of evaluation meetings with the students of total 18 schools (12 PSC level and 6 SSC level schools). From 20th February to 18th March, 2014 total eighteen sub-events were organized in the school premises to identify the best debate team and poster drawing artists for the final round.

The awareness programs were very informative and resourceful to the students and the teachers. The concern people of Rupantar Eco-Tourism Ltd. Shared their knowledge and experiences on the topic among all participants, so that they could inform about the transformation process of climate change and destructive actions of human. As an impact of climate change and destructive action of human, the Sundarban is gradually losing its ecological balance. “Protecting Sundarban and its biodiversity from natural disaster and human activities” was the main topic of those meetings. In those meetings it also described that the Sundarban is the largest mangrove forest of the world and only unique heritage for its beauty, biodiversity and natural resources. But, bearing the tag of world heritage by UNESCO, Sundarban is now fighting against undercontrolled resource extraction for its existence. Selfish minded men and their cruelty on the forest, natural disaster, undercontrolled general tourism and unavailability of alternative livelihoods are the main reasons of this situation. So, fighting against all those challenges it is essential to educating people through awareness and initiating such activities which will be most helpful for local community about the issue. In the meeting discussion also held on the importance of promoting Eco-Tourism, creating alternative livelihood scopes and the School Outreach Program initiated by Rupantar Eco-Tourism Ltd. For conserving Sundarban and diversify, the mode of life of the local community.

Debate Competition

6 schools took part in the initial stage of the competition. Each school set a team of three members by an internal competition. About 10 to 15 students participated in those competitions. They debate on the same topic. The debating topic was “Local community can play the key role for conservation of Sundarban”. After finalizing the teams, two teams of the same union competed against each other in the 1st round of the competition.
Three winner schools were Koilashgonj High School, Talukder Akther Faruk High School and Laudobe Badamtola High School and all of them were qualified for semifinal round from their respective unions. The teams debated on the same topic “Local community can play the key role for conservation of Sundarban”. In semifinal round the topic was “Eco-friendly tourism management can play the key role for the conservation of Sundarban”. Three union representatives competed against each other in a round robin league process in the competition. After winning the semifinal round Koilashgonj High School and Laudobe Badamtola High School went through the final of the competition. The final was held on 4th April, 2014 at Koilashgonj Shaymapada Govt. Primary School premises. Two trams debated on the topic of “Local community can play the key role for conservation of Sundarban”. Laudobe Badamtola High School of Laudobe union was judged the champion team of the competition and Koilashgonj High School of Koilashgonj managed to be the runners-up position. Brotideb Biswas of runners-up team judged the best debater in the competition. Three strong jufdged panel were formed with the school teachers for neutral judgement. They helped to make a successful competition among the team to the end.

Poster Drawing Competition

320 students from 12 primary schools were participated in the preliminary stage of the poster drawing competition on the topic of “Sundarban and its biodiversity” at their school venues. Both girls and boys students were participated in the competition. They depicted Sundarban from their realistic view with the enormous enthusiasm. The event begun on 20th February and the preliminary selection process completed on the 9th March 2014. Out of 320students, 80 were selected for the final round of the competition. The final was held on 4th April, 2014 al Koilashgonj Shayamapada Govt. Primary School. 80 Students from 12 primary schools were participated in the grand finale with a festive mood. Top three of all participants were judged as the award winners of the competition. 12 years old Palash Das of Koilashgonj Shaymapada Govt. Primary School won the 1st prie and Munna Mistry of Dhangmary Biswanath Govt. primary School and Sagor Howleder of Amtola Banishanta Govt. Primary School won 2nd and 3rd prize respectively. Mr. Budhdhadev Mondol an artist of Arts Discipline of Khulna University and Debprasad Sarder, Assistat Teacher of East Khejuria Govt. Primary School were the judged of the competition.

Sundarban Carnival

Starting with a colorful rally the Sundarban carnival showed its flamboyance form the beginning. Over 500 local community people along with elites from Khulna city and other upazilas participated in the rally. A large number of female stakeholders also took part in the rally. They have crossed over nearly 3 kilometers muddy path with great enthusiasm.

After a blissful rally Local MP (Member of Parliament) Mr. Panchanan Biswas formally inaugurated the carnival. He hoisted the National flag along with National anthem and freed the pigeons as inauguration procedure. Other distinguished guests and community people were present in this inaugural ceremony. A cultural group trained by Rupantar Eco-Tourism Ltd. (RET) led the national anthem.

After the inauguration of the carnival, local cultural group trained by RET performed a ‘Pot Gaan’ (folk musical drama with sequential picturing) based on awareness promotion for Sundarban conservation. The ‘Pot Gaan’ entitled ‘Our Sundarban’ depicted on livelihood in Sundarban, their grievances, vulnerability in the climate changing environment and the necessity of Sundarban in their lives.

A discussion meeting was held on the role of the community people for Sundarban conservation. MP Mr. Panchanan Biswas addressed to the people as chief guest of the meeting. Dacope Upazilla Chairman Mr. Sk. Md. Abul Hossain, Associate Professor of Foresty and Wood Technology department of Khulna University Dr. Md. Kamruzzaman, President of Khulna Development Movement Coordination Committee Mr. Md. Ashrafuzzaman, eminent lawyer Ad. Abdullah Hossain Bacchu, Assistant Conservator of Forest (Khulna Circle) Mr. Md. Taufiqul Islam, local community leader Mr. Binoy Krishna Roy and Banishanta UP Chairman Mr. Sudeb Kumar Roy also addressed the meeting as soecial guests. Managing Director of Rupantar Eco-Tourism Ltd. Mr. Nazmul Azam David delivered the welcome speech while Koilashganj UP Chairman Mr. Mihir Mondol chaired the meeting.

A cultural competition was arranged and local folk artists thrilled the audience with their performance through song, dance and drama. Hundreds of jubilant people enjoyed those delightfully and cherished the brilliance of the performers.

A cultural competition was arranged and local folk artists thrilled the audience with their performance through song, dance and drama. Hundreds of jubilant people enjoyed those delightfully and cherished the brilliance of the performers.

Local handicrafts artisans trained by RET opened a display center of their products in the carnival ground. Embroidered bed covers, cushion covers, pillow covers, attractive girl’s outfits, men’s Punjabis, handkerchiefs, pretty room decorative were the items they displayed. These items were made by group of artisans with the help of RET. They were appreciated by others for their intense efforts.