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Equator Initiative Case Study – Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha

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In the low-lying northwestern region of Bangladesh, a mosaic of wetland ponds and waterways make travel extremely difficult, particularly during the monsoon season when extensive flooding occurs. To address this challenge, Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha operates a fleet of 54 solar-powered boats to deliver services that range from schools to agricultural extension centers. The vessels are able to navigate waterways and pull up alongside villages that would otherwise be too isolated to receive such support.
Of Shidhulai’s fleet, 20 boats are outfitted as floating schools that move along the wetland canals from village to village holding three classes per day for children in riverbank communities. Ten library boats are fitted with books, computers, printers, and mobile phones. Five health clinic boats bring free healthcare to more than 300 people per day, while five agricultural extension boats train farmers in sustainable farming methods. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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