|Name of Organization||RUSTIC (Rural Unfortunates Safety Talisman Illumination Cottage )|
|Year of Establishment||1988|
|Address||115/32 Majid Sharani Sattar Biswas Sarak, Sonadanga, Khulna 9000, Bangladesh.
Telephone: +880 4172 9421. Mobile: +880 1719 484330
|Chief Executive||Moral Noor Mohammad, Ashoka Fellow (USA)|
|Legal Status||Registered with the Directorate of Social Welfare, People’s, Republic of Bangladesh, bearing, No. Khulna-537/93 dated May 31, 1993
NGO Bureau Vide Reg. No. 1949 dated July 25, 2004. and valid upto 25 July, 2019
|Working Area||Districts of Khulna and Bagerhat|
Bangladesh is not a poor country by tradition and instead is a treasure trove for agricultural resources. Despite this fact, it is considered to be one of the poorest nations in the developing world. Natural disasters, lack of formal education, slow industrialisation, and a lack of democracy translates into people having little voice in the governance of their country. The dream of building a developed nation is gradually fading away. Lack of transparency and accountability in the management of wealth translates into few people getting richer and most being pushed to the margin. The poor are unable break out of the vicious circle of poverty.
It is time to find an effective way to give hope for the survival and development of the left out majority. RUSTIC (Rural Unfortunates’ Safety Talisman Illumination Cottage) has emerged to instill this dream into the left out majority. It is a non-profit and non-government volunteer organization, that works towards socio-economic and environmental development and bio-diversity conservation in Bangladesh.
RUSTIC’s vision is an equitable and just society facilitated through self will and empowerment; it seeks to create a dignified and poverty free society.
“Poverty alleviation is well-known to the poor - only assistance is required.” It is essential to mainstream sustainable development to the backward, deprived, vulnerable, and affected men, women and children.
RUSTIC developed five strategic objectives to achieve its vision and materialize its mission:
RUSTIC utilizes its organizational resources to have a maximum impact on the organizational activities. It follows a two-fold strategy to improve access and enhance the supply of resources and services.
Firstly, in order to create local institutions it must develop needs-based awareness through individual or group approaches. These institutions will take an unequivocal stand for enhancing rights and empowerment.
Secondly, RUSTIC provides need based quality resources and services to the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized section. It mobilizes and utilizes internal and outsourced resources for the effective management of knowledge.
To strengthen mechanisms for better service delivery among the poor, RUSTIC develops partnerships, forums, alliances, networks, coalitions and the like to ensure the representation of a diverse range of institutional skills.
For programme interventions, RUSTIC considers four issues:
A main objective of all the works implemented or underway by RUSTIC is to support these cross cutting issues.
RUSTIC has been implementing the following two major programmes to achieve its strategic objectives:
RUSTIC and Seven Hills Global Outreach, USA partnership in Bangladesh has so far (as of 31st December 2017) made the following achievements:
RUSTIC has successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of the following development products:
RUSTIC has been successfully running a beneficiary-community financed sustainable Solid Waste Management System to safely dispose off 2800 Metric Tons of Solid Waste and recycle the organic fraction to produce 480 Metric Tons of Compost (Organic) Fertilizer per year.
Residents in Khulna City generates around 300,000 Metric Tons of Solid Waste per year. Establishing a beneficiary-community financed sustainable Solid Waste Management System to safely dispose off these 300,000 Metric Tons of Solid Waste and recycle the organic fraction to produce 50,000 Metric Tons of Compost (Organic) Fertilizer per year works out to be 2.7 million US Dollars.
RUSTIC’s Model of SWMP has huge potentials to directly contribute to the following SDGs while it indirectly impacts on other SDGs.
Creates 2,500 jobs for 2,500 families with per family annual income of 1,450 US Dollars. This enables the families to enjoy no poverty.
Ensures sustainable environment in Khulna City and the city residents enjoy a great improvement in public health issues.
Reduces Green House Gas emissions within the city area.
The programme requires a one-off grant to fund the initial capital costs and running costs for the initial six months. Thereafter the programme will be financially self-sustainable through collection of services from the waste generators and the sale proceeds of the compost (organic) fertilizers.
The leadership of the programme as been awarded fellowship from the Ashoka Fellowship for the Innovators, USA and also awarded the Climate Hero Award jointly sponsored by HSBC Bank and the Daily Star.
Detailes of the programme are available in Annex-D.
RUSTIC has successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of the following development products:
RUSTIC executes the programme two steps: (1) enhancing groups of poor; and (2) building unity of local development initiators (NGOs, CBOs, etc.)
The primary target groups of RUSTIC are the isolated poor and hardcore poor grassroots families. This programme helps unite people at the grassroots level and strengthen their capacity.
RUSTIC focuses particularly on strengthening the capacity of the groups and making them self- motivated. To achieve this goal, group members are challenged to critically analyse themselves. They become involved in necessary skill development, income generating activities (IGA), and savings management activities. In addition, RUSTIC encourages all the groups to unite further through federations at village and union levels. Whereas the head of the groups and federations receive training from RUSTIC on leadership qualities, the rest of the general members participate in a series of awareness sessions. These include cross cutting socio-economic and political issues such as Women’s Rights, Child’s Rights, Safe Environment and Poverty Reduction. There are frequent exchanges and dissemination of information between RUSTIC and the groups and federations.
RUSTIC supports about 4,580 underprivileged people through 243 female and male groups. Each group has an average of 20 members who gather weekly for group meetings and money saving.
RUSTIC is implementing this project with the financial support from Ashoka Innovators for the Public (USA). RUSTIC will continue organization building activities after phasing out of this project
RUSTIC formed a local-based farmers’ association to market products and run a small trade of its group members. This association plays a supportive role to protect and preserve farmer’s various rights and privileges. This includes dealing with short-term capital crises, enhancing awareness of Fair Trade facts, and ensuring direct supply and fair price of their products.
RUSTIC believes that voters have a key role in ensuring and strengthening the democracy of a country. As a result, RUSTIC, in partnership with the development organization BROTEE, has implemented a project to strengthen citizens’ rights. The project activities include voter awareness and advocacy and focuses on vulnerable groups (women, religious and ethnic minorities, pre- and post-election observation and monitoring of national, Union Parishad, Pourasabha (municipality), City corporation and bi-elections in the country). RUSTIC implemented this project at Fakirhat, Mollahat and Chitalmari Upazilas of Bagerhat district between 2005 and 2009.
RUSTIC believes strengthening local government is essential for the sound contribution to the democratic process. To achieve its aims, RUSTIC aims to increase access and involvement of people in the governance.
RUSTIC connects with various local forums, national forums and networks of development associations to enhance capacity of the development organisations, increase access to resources, and contribute to the policy planning. The Climate Change Effects Defender’s Association of Bangladesh (CEDAB network) is a noteworthy achievement as it is currently composed of 38 NGOs and a consultancy firm since July 2008.
RUSTIC implemented a three year project in the Morrelgonj area to assist in the development of vulnerable women. The area was specifically chosen because of its vulnerability to environmental disasters. For example the area is still dealing with the effects of a cyclone nearly three years ago. As a result, RUSTICs efforts are instrumental in improving the situation in the area today.
The project targets the poorest of the population: in particular over 2,800 women and their families. RUSTIC regional staffs begin by facilitating community meetings. These meetings facilitate dialogue and enhance awareness. Training sessions occur next, namely in the fields of environmental and rights protection. Staff members give tips and advice on what to do in case of emergency.
Following awareness training, the women are given practical training for future income generation. They choose which activity is most suitable to their needs and develop the skill for this field. After meeting with RUSTIC representatives, the women are eligible for credit to begin their project.
Though in its early stages, RUSTIC hopes this project will enhance the prosperity of the area and facilitate development. It will make the women more in control of their finances and provide an additional source of income for the family.
The coastal area of Bangladesh is one of the most complex, biologically rich and productive ecosystems in the world. A previous Coastal Embankment Project was implemented to increase agricultural yield and protect human settlements. However, this project had adverse environmental impacts like enhanced siltation of rivers, drainage congestion and water logging in the area. As a result people started fisheries and other activities to fulfil their basic needs. Despite these steps, what the people really needed was a well-planned and integrated alternative agriculture system to ensure sustainability. To meet this need, RUSTI has been conducting similar activities in this programme.
Integrated organic farming is an innovation by RUSTIC. It provides skill development training on prawn-fish poly-culture, fish in paddy land, homestead gardening, vegetable cultivation on the pond banks or boundaries of agrarian lands, use of organic compost to protect soil quality, livestock, poultry rearing and many more. The programme also provides skill based training on agro based entrepreneurship such as the development of marketing and market channels, IGAs, integrated pest management and organic farming. The project activities include improving motivation and awareness building of its stakeholders through workshops, seminars, and distribution of posters and leaflets. RUSTIC continues the programme activities by providing necessary training and equipment supports, sharing the cost between beneficiaries and RUSTIC’s own funding sources after the project’s end.
RUSTIC has acquired skills on aquaculture from the experience in different projects in the waterlogged areas and with different donors over last 15 years. Common objectives of these projects include creating part-time employment for rural unemployed people with have access to open water bodies (like rivers, canals, wetlands) or ghers, ponds, etc. Major projects implemented under the sub-components are:
RUSTIC merged all the activities of above projects with own programmes and funds.
Recently the programme of RUSTIC is extended to livestock activities, especially with ‘Goat Rearing’ and ‘Beef Fattening’ activities. RUSTIC started a small farm to gather practical experience and influence the people to follow GoB manual in this regard.
Due to the effects of climate change, more and more land in this area is affected by salinity. As a result it is essential to adopt alternative agriculture in the saline water area. RUSTIC has been keeping close connection with the relevant GoB departments for their guidelines on the issue and is currently searching for implementing partners to materialize those guidelines.
Since almost half of the population of Bangladesh lives below the poverty line, food security is vitally important to the poor. The situation in the working areas (Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts) is much worse because of the impact of natural disasters (i.e. cyclones, tidal surges etc.), saline water (due to shrimp and prawn cultivation), and water logging (due to ill-planned embankments). While natural disasters devastate lives and permanent possessions, salinity and water logging snatch away their livelihoods and employment opportunities. As a result, RUSTIC implements its micro-entrepreneurship component to ensure sustainable development and bring about a positive change for the poor and hardcore poor.
RUSTIC operates this programme group and individual practices. In the rural areas, RUSTIC provides support in the group approach and facilitates agro-based entrepreneurship. Conversely, it adopts the individual approach in the urban areas (Sonadanga slum of KCC) to facilitate trade and product-based entrepreneurship. In both the cases, RUSTIC begins by providing need base skill development training to facilitate entrepreneurial initiatives. Then it takes the following steps gradually: accumulation of savings, operating revolving loan fund, transferring assets among the hardcore poor and facilitating the development of market channels.
The ‘Vermicompost & Vermiculture’ project is another RUSTIC innovation that is implemented mainly for recycling organic solid waste and protection of biodiversity. Goals of the project include ensuring favourable water ecology for aquatic flora and fauna, conserving snail bio-diversity, supporting prawn-fish polyculture, and cultivating green vegetables. The project started with the support from the Bangladesh Environmental Management Project (BEMP) and CIDA in the year 2002. It aims to increase awareness of the farmers, transfer environmentally friendly technology, and empower rural disadvantaged women through IGAs. RUSTIC has been continuing training support to the farmers utilizing its own resources.
Snail diversity is an integral and important element of wetland ecosystems. However, they are on the verge of extinction because of saline water and their rampant use in feeding during prawn and shrimp cultivation in the working area. The species acts as controller of water ecology to prevent water pollution and thereby help conserve bio-diversity and environment. In this regard, RUSTIC has implemented the project titled “Conservation of Snail Diversity and Environment through Motivation, Awareness Building and Campaign” with the support of Sustainable Environment Management Programme (SEMP) financed by UNDP.
RUSTIC has successfully promoted the improved cook stoves in the working areas. The cooker not only economizes the use of wood but also reduces carbon emission by controlling smoke. This project, funded by UNDP/GIZ and implemented by RUSTIC, is replicating very fast. Similarly, RUSTIC has enlisted the support of the Ministry of Environment of GoB to establish a Biogas plant.
In order to raise the capacity of the local poor and to mitigate climate change effect vulnerability, RUSTIC has developed a network titled ‘Climate Change Effects Defender’s Association of Bangladesh – CEDAB’. The network collects needed data, documents, and conducts research to ensure the formal organisational infrastructure. RUSTIC, as the lead organisation, is coordinating and maintaining the office of the network. All the thematic and technical support to CEDAB is provided by the consultant firm SOHOYOGEE.
RUSTIC’s biogas plant transforms waste (like cow dung, kitchen scraps, and human sludge) into a usable gas and a safe fertilizer. By using a design similar to that of a septic tank, the biogas plant facilitates the harnessing and storage of gas.
The biogas plant is composed of four main parts. First, there is an above ground round chamber for initial sludge deposits. This chamber contains a stirring mechanism to break up any large pieces of waste. Second, a pipe connects the above ground chamber to an underground settler. Sludge remains underground for about three days to reach the correct temperature and remove harmful pathogens. Third, the underground chamber is connected to an above ground pit. After being dried, the sludge in the pit can be used as fertilizer. Finally, a tube connects the underground settler to household appliances like cook stoves. The biogas thus uses waste to deliver safe, effective, and environmentally friendly gas.
Biogas can be utilized in numerous arenas. Domestically it can be used for cooking, lighting, heating water, and running refrigerators, water pumps, and electric generators. It can also be used for drying crops and pumping water for irrigation. After the sludge has been placed in a drying bed, it can also be utilized as fertilization and a soil composition improver. As a result the biogas plant not only reduces the pollution of surrounding areas, but it also reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
Moral Noor Mohammad
Ashoka Fellow (USA)
RUSTIC, Khulna, Bangladesh
Moral Noor Mohammad was born in 1951 in a remote village in Bagerhat, a coastal district of Bangladesh. Despite growing up in a lower middle class farmer family, Mr. Moral was actively engaged in social works throughout his schooling. He led various activities to establish the rights for the poor community. He went on to complete his studies with a degree in Social Science. Shortly thereafter, he began to work hard to establish the rights of industrial laborers. Many times he was arrested by the police and had to stay in jail for leading these types of activities. In 1971, during the liberation war in Bangladesh, Mr. Moral joined in Freedom Fighters’ Group and fought against Pakistani Army for the freedom of his beloved mother land. After the liberation war, again he started his social works for the betterment of poor community. In order to give an official shape to his social activities and inspired by the activities of Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Fazle Hassan Abed and Dr. Kazi Faruk Ahmed, Mr. Moral initiated RUSTIC with the commitment to work for the betterment of the disadvantaged community. Recycling the solid-waste into Bio-Fertilizer is an Innovation of RUSTIC for which he has been honored with “Ashoka Fellow” from the USA. He has also received recognition as Best Social Worker. Mr. Moral now works in the field of education, income generation for the poor community through micro-finance, water and sanitation, and sustainable agriculture and environment.
Under the leadership of Moral Noor Mohammad, RUSTIC has been honored with a number of prestigious awards including Ashoka Fellowship from Ashoka Innovators for the Public (USA) in 2002 on Social Entrepreneurship, Environment Medal from Bagerhat Foundation (Bangladesh) in 2004 on Nature Conservation, NONA FISHER CORNERSTONE AWARD from Winrock International (USA) in 2016 on Food Security, Climate Champion Award from HSBC Bank in 2013 on Climate Adaptation.