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Joygun Islam at work with her husband Nazrul (Credit: Rachel Corner/Oxfam)

At a glance

Combining education, training, influencing and promotion of women's leadership to improve resilience to disasters and climate change.


Resilience through Economic Empowerment, Climate Adaptation, Leadership and Learning (REE-CALL) was Oxfam's largest programme in Bangladesh. It recognized the complex, interrelated issues of poverty and lack of agency that make women and men more vulnerable to climate change and prevents them being resilient to its impacts. The programme built knowledge and capacity within communities to anticipate and cope with climate and disaster-related challenges. It promoted gender justice, good governance, access to services and economic empowerment as foundations for building improved disaster preparedness and resilience.  The programme was launched in October 2010 and ran until March 2017. A second phase of the programme is currently being developed.

Our approach

The REE-CALL programme strengthened communities' resilience and ability to prepare for and respond to the risks associated with disasters and climate change by fostering economic empowerment and inclusive leadership. The programme directly targeted 76,000 households and indirectly benefited 225,000 households in 800 communities in 14 of the worst-affected districts of the country's most vulnerable agro-ecological regions.

Through REE-CALL, Oxfam developed a model that went beyond Disaster Risk Reduction, with communities themselves leading on addressing their vulnerabilities. This included taking low-cost precautionary measures against loss of assets such as livestock, and working together with local authorities to develop community adaptation plans.

REE-CALL also designed an innovative insurance product, working with local and Swiss insurance companies. This allows families affected by flooding to receive a pay-out, based on payment of an insurance premium which is calculated against their daily wages and measures of well-being. The scheme was launched in August 2013 in the presence of the Minister of Disaster Management and Relief, representatives from government, donor agencies, NGOs, the insurance sector and civil society. It demonstrated its effectiveness in supporting flood-affected families in 2014 and 2015, attracting the attention of various global stakeholders including the World Food Programme, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Our partners

Under this programme, Oxfam worked with:

  • All Party Parliament Group - taking evidence from the programme into national-level committees and Parliament House.
  • Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood - campaigning on climate change related issues at national and global level.
  • Char (River Island) Alliance - which is calling for a special budget for char dwellers.
  • Haor (wetland) Development Foundation.
  • Milk producer smallholders group - which is working for access to finance and markets, etc.

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