The IOM and United Nations agencies join hands, on Thursday, to distribute gas stoves and LPG among the people, living at margin, in Cox's Bazar, with the aim to save the trees in the region from being cut down for firewood.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), World Food Program (WFP), and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) jointly took the initiative under a comprehensive programme, namely, SAFE Plus. Since its onset in 2018, SAFE Plus has been working to stop deforestation in the Cox's Bazar region, as the programme simultaneously aims at planting new tree in the deforested areas within the region.
Under the SAFE Plus, the IOM will distribute the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and gas stoves to 14,000 people, who are also participating in the Livelihoods programme by the WFP, said a joint press release.
"The LPG distribution is an exciting programme that reduces fuel costs for Bangladeshis, while reducing deforestation," said Manuel Pereira, Deputy Chief of the UN Mission.
"Thousands of Bangladeshis have benefitted from the LPG distribution initiative. We look forward to reaching more host community members through this initiative," he added.
Under the initiative, almost 80 hectares of land has been reforested around Cox's Bazar, so far, with the indigenous plant species being planted to help restore the damaged environment and help conserve the endangered species in the region.
"The reforestation work, being done with the Forest Department, is the key to preventing landslides, floods and the loss of precious topsoil, said Peter Agnew, FAO's Emergency Response Coordinator in Cox's Bazar.
Through the Livelihood programme, people receive 'cash grants' at the end of a two-year training concerning how to start on their own business, as well as, a monthly allowance. Under the programme, people are trained up in entrepreneurship and basic skills such as literacy and negotiation.
"Around 20,000 people in Cox's Bazar are currently taking part in the livelihood programme, and past graduates from the training programme have launched many successful businesses in the host community," said Mr Peter Guest, Emergency Coordinator with WFP.
Khaleda Begum, a receiver of stove and LPG, said that the LPG will be a welcome addition to her home, improving health and making cooking easier
More than 700 people received the stoves and LPG on Thursday, and the distribution will continue throughout the month of September to reach the 14,000 marks, said the press release.