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background

During its annual monsoon season, one-third of Bangladesh is submerged beneath floodwaters. A further 80% of the total area of Bangladesh is prone to flooding due to being located at the low-lying delta of major rivers. A warming climate has increased the extent of this flooding in recent years.

The fight against flooding, and by extension, climate change threatens the continuity of education around the world. We will hear about Bangladesh’s innovative way to deal with this challenge—floating schools operating with the simple mantra of “If children cannot go to the classroom, build a classroom on a boat and take their lessons to them.”

Such an approach has been used successfully in other developing nations prone to flooding, such as the Philippines, Cambodia, Nigeria, and Vietnam, ensuring that education continues throughout these natural occurrences.

BRAC Specific Resources

  • Floating schools for climate change - a short video featuring BRAC's boat schools in Bangladesh and the Philippines.
  • Positive Pick-Me-Ups: The Boat Schools Enabling Equity, Encouraging Gender Equality and Tackling Bullying - an article about BRAC's boat schools that also features a video presentation on them.
  • BRAC's WASH program - an overview video of BRAC's Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene program and its impacts.
  • Monsoon hits Cox’s Bazar: The world’s biggest makeshift city - a look at the effects of monsoon season in Cox's Bazar, the site of the Rohingya refugee camps, the largest refugee camps in the world.
  • The world's second largest cholera campaign - shows BRAC's efforts to fight the emerging cholera outbreak, a waterborne illness, in the Rohingya camps in 2017. An example of when massive, well-managed public health campaigns, based in a combination of science and community trust, can prevent disaster and save tens of thousands of lives.
  • Water and Sanitation playlist - the YouTube page featuring various other videos on some of BRAC's water-related programs.
  • How Humanity Gave Itself an Extra Life - a recent NY Times Magazine article about the advances in human health that discusses the advances in science that have allowed human lifespans to grow significantly over the past century+. I initially learned about it because it discusses BRAC's work promoting oral rehydration solution in Bangladesh and also features the last known case of smallpox globally, which was on Bhola Island in Bangladesh, both of which you may find interesting. One section really sticks out to me though when thinking about water-related work - the article references how, as people, when there is an absence of illness, we often don't realize how much work in science and community organizing led to that - essentially to really keep people healthy you need both innovations in science AND the organizations and people with the know-how and trust to get those ideas out into and incorporated within communities. That's exactly what BRAC is doing in the Rohingya camps and other places that are helping to keep people safe and healthy - we are both training people on healthy lifestyles and providing them with the tools and resources to live them. I hope this makes sense.
  • 5 Ways BRAC supports people to adapt to climate change
  • Breaking the Taboo: Managing Menstrual Hygiene at School