Salahuddin 2009 – Addressing Monga in Bangladesh

Monga, is a well-known in the language of development in Bangladesh. Poor farmers and labourers in the northwest region of Bangladesh suffer from a lack of employment opportunities during the months of September to November. Such a situation increases the vulnerability of households who are already at risk. This paper aims to document the story of a regional effort to address the stress placed on livelihoods that is caused by issues of seasonality. Monga has been addressed by government and other development agencies from the perspective of emergency management through the development of safety-net programs. Recently, however, regionally active agricultural research and development agencies have collectively tried to address the issue through a set of innovative technologies interventions, coupled with capacity building and dissemination activities. A concept of a Focal Area Forum emerged under a project named PETRRA (Poverty Elimination through Rice Research Assistance) to support collective action by all actors in the field of agricultural research and development. PETRRA was managed by the International Rice Research Institute in close partnership with the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute. The actors included the government agencies (Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute, BRRI, Bangladesh Institute for Nuclear Agriculture, Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation), Non-government organisations (RDRS, GKF others) and private sector enterprises. RDRS was nominated as the secretariat for the forum with the director of agriculture of RDRS as the member-secretary. It was agreed that the heads of other regional agencies would chair the forum by rotation. The members collectively decided to share resources so as to be able to develop and implement programs without the need for major resource support from donors. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between RDRS and the DAE to support each other; RDRS groups and Farmer Field School (FFS) groups were used by the DAE to disseminate the latest region specific proven technologies. Other agencies such as BARI, BRRI, BADC and BINA cooperated as resource persons for poor farmer capacity development programs on selected technologies. This simple understanding created a huge potential of multi-agency cooperation to address a major regional issues. The MoU was endorsed by the highest decision making authority. Many national agencies showed their interest to work closely with the Northwest Focal Area Forum to address the monga issue. This paper explores the potential of such a strategy for regional development. The paper also explores possibility of replication of such an effort nationally and in similar environments internationally.

File: Salahuddin 2009 - Addressing Monga in Bangladesh.pdf