I came to Bangladesh for the first time in late 2018 to conduct fieldwork in support of my Master’s thesis research. Four months already seemed like a short timeframe to organize and complete all of my field research, and completing this work while experiencing a new country and culture for the first time felt like an intimidating prospect. I could not have asked for a better experience getting organized in Bangladesh than my experience with CSD. Before I even arrived in Dhaka, my co-supervisor with the CSD, Dr. Samiya Selim, provided crucial logistical feedback and recommendations that helped me in planning my research. While I spent the majority of my time outside of Dhaka due to my field work requirements, I had the opportunity to attend the CSD Conference on Sustainable Development during my first few days in Bangladesh, which was a great opportunity to network with local researchers and learn about their work in sustainable climate development. During my time in the field, I always felt like my co-supervisor and CSD were available to provide feedback and support for any challenges that might arise along the way.
My research in Bangladesh focused on innovative technologies in agriculture in aquaculture as climate adaptation strategies in rural Bangladesh. Various technologies such as salinity tolerant crop varieties have been introduced as ways for rural ecosystem-dependent households to adapt their livelihoods to the changing climate conditions. The aim of my work was to understand how community social network structures influence local access to climate adaptations such as these technologies. “Social network” here refers to the social ties between households and to outside actors such as NGOs or government organizations, such as knowledge, money, and labor exchanges that may be important for household livelihood adaptation. Households with greater access to these networks might thus be expected to have more access to innovative knowledge and technologies than households more isolated within the network. Understanding how social connectivity affects access to climate adaptation strategies may allow NGOs and aid organizations to better reach more marginalized households.
I had a very positive experience in my several months in Bangladesh conducting my thesis research, and I look forward to the possibility of collaborating with CSD again in the future.