08 Nov Mohammed Rezwan
Mohammed Rezwan is Founding Executive Director of Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha. He invented âfloating education systemâ to ensure access to all year-round education and river conservation in flood-prone areas. He developed, expanded, and sustained floating schools over 17 years. Now floating schools are in operation in nine countries. Drawing on his architectural expertise, he designs spaces on boats that successfully accommodating the need of a school, library to training center. Rezwan served on international advisory committees dealing with education, technology, and environment. He regularly presents at global conferences. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts (RSA).
Floating Educational Playground for River Conservation: An Inclusive Solution for Resilient Communities and Sustainable Development
Bangladesh is the lower riparian of three major river systems of South Asia, the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna (GBM). Over 92 percent of the annual runoff generated in GBM catchments area flows through the country, making it one of the most flood-prone regions in the world. It has an extensive network of rivers, but due to the pollution the rivers have reached alarming levels and the aquatic ecosystems are being affected. Information and road access are very limited in flood-prone areas, and boats are the only means of transport. Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha came up with a creative solution to these problems and introduced ‘floating educational playground’ to help the disadvantaged youth to develop new skills to monitor river water quality, while raising awareness on river protection and biodiversity conservation. The idea was to ‘use the traditional knowledge and local materials to create a floating space on a boat’ to ensure all year-round access to trainings at doorsteps. Each two-tier boat has on-board playground, a learning center, training space, and observation deck. The boats are solar powered, allowing the class to use a blended approach of face-to-face and technology integrated learning. Also, it develops contents by integrating the local culture with technology. The project has trained hundreds of youth on the importance of the river, and now they are involved in cleaning up the river and monitoring the river water quality. There is an increased in awareness among local community members about no use of pesticides/ mechanical means of controlling insects, importance of tree and grass at the riverbanks, and stopping illegal fishing practices. This presentation will discuss the ‘floating educational playground’ case study, sharing the origin, concept, achievement, challenges and possibility of replications in other settings around the world.