Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) - United Nations agencies have expanded distributions of gas stoves and LPG in the host community of Cox’s Bazar, jointly targeting the most vulnerable people in the district.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) distributed the LPG to 14,000 people who are also participating in the World Food Programme’s livelihoods programme, said a joint media release on Thursday.
The distributions are part of the comprehensive SAFE Plus programme, a joint initiative between IOM, WFP, and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) which has been running since 2018.
SAFE Plus aims to curb deforestation in the region whilst simultaneously restoring deforested areas.
“The LPG distribution is an exciting programme that reduces fuel costs for Bangladeshis while reducing deforestation,” said Manuel Pereira – Deputy Chief of Mission.
“Thousands of Bangladeshis have benefitted from LPG and we continue to build on its successes. IOM is in Bangladesh for the long haul, and we look forward to reaching more host community members through this initiative,” he said.
Along with the distribution of LPG to stop trees being cut down for firewood, almost 80 hectares of land has been reforested around Cox’s Bazar so far.
Indigenous species are being planted to help restore the damaged environment and help conserve the endangered species in the region. A mixed vegetation approach will be used in this restoration initiative which includes planting of long rooted grass, leguminous seeds, tree seedlings, and bamboo.
“The LPG initiative and the reforestation programme are linked and were developed in coordination to benefit all of the people in this area,” said Peter Agnew, FAO’s Emergency Response Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.
“The reforestation work, being done with the Forest Department both in and outside of the camps, is key to preventing landslides, floods and the loss of precious topsoil. The tree cover is also vital to the recharging groundwater sources; a priority in the already water scarce environment.”
WFP livelihoods participants received the stoves because the programme targets the most vulnerable in Cox’s Bazar.
Through the programme, people receive a cash grant at the end of a two-year training to start their own business.
Throughout the two-year programme people receive a monthly allowance as they participate in training in entrepreneurship and basic skills such as numeracy, literacy, and negotiation.
“Around 20,000 people in the host community are currently taking part in the livelihoods programme and past graduates have launched many successful businesses in the host community,” said Peter Guest, Emergency Coordinator with WFP.