Strengthening communities’ collective action for inclusive water governance in Brahmaputra & Meghna Basins
Learning Brief: Nodi Boithok
Nodi Boithok or ‘River Meeting’ is a process, through which civil society organizations and local vulnerable communities collectively work, to identify water governance challenges and opportunities at the grassroots level. Through this process, communities’ capacity to engage with and influence duty bearers is strengthened, to secure their water resource rights.
The process was initiated in early 2018 in Bangladesh by TROSA programme and has been implemented by two partners - Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS) and Gana Unnayan Kendra in Brahmaputra and Meghna basins, respectively. So far, through a series of 30 Nodi Boithoks, we have engaged over 300 community leaders (women and men). They discussed and planned strategies to influence and resolve issues such as access to river bank erosion control support, fisheries rights, access to inland water transport, remedies from the impacts of ‘malfunctioning’ rubber dam and unplanned and unregulated sand and gravel-mining - all of which are related to the governance of transboundary river basins - Meghna, Brahmaputra and Jinjiram. Issues raised, discussed and remedial actions proposed in these meetings were later shared with relevant Bangladeshi stakeholders at sub-district and national levels. Some of these can later be taken forward to cross-boundary counterparts in India at the state and central levels, especially those related with Brahmaputra and Meghna basins.
Among the outcomes of this initiative, most significant is a participatory influencing process to make Hilsa fisheries more inclusive and promote community-led indigenous river erosion control infrastructure and start discussing the transboundary dimensions of both these issues.