Skip navigation

Volunteering for Climate Adaptation and Disasters in the Indian Sundarbans

Voluntary Labour, Climate Adaptation & Disasters (VOCAD) Research Initiative

The research project "Volunteering for Climate Adaptation and Disasters in the Indian Sundarbans" is led by Professor Matt Baillie Smith in collaboration with a team from Jadavpur University as part of the UKRI-GCRF Living Deltas Research Hub wider collaborative project.

The project focuses on the context of the Indian Sundarbans (Indian part of the Ganges‐Brahmaputra‐Meghna Delta) and Kolkata city, located in the Indian state of West Bengal, to generate new evidence on the ways individuals and organisations mobilise labour in their approaches to disasters response and adaptation.

It aims to understand the everyday ways delta dwellers undertake voluntary or unpaid work to respond to disasters and or the changing environment and how this work is organised. It also explores the unpaid and voluntary labour of individuals and groups outside the Sundarbans in contributing to crisis response and responses to the changing climate, and how their labour impacts those present in the Sundarbans to build sustainable delta futures.

The research has the following objectives:

  • To conceptualise the different kinds of voluntary labour mobilised for climate adaptation and disasters response in the Indian Sundarbans.
  • To analyse the different ways voluntary labour is managed and governed in strategies for adaptation and crises response by the civil society and private sector.
  • To assess the impacts of voluntary labour on adaptation, climate response and participants’ lives.
  • To increase understanding and awareness of the role of voluntary labour in crises response and adaptation.
  • To increase understanding of the importance of voluntary labour in climate adaptation strategies and disasters in the Indian Sundarbans, and beyond, providing evidence and insight to support improvements in policy and practice.

The project’s activities involve qualitative and participatory visual research methods to engage with a diverse set of stakeholders in the Sundarbans region (Gosaba, Sagar and Basanti) and Kolkata, including current and former volunteers, regional and local grassroots level organisations, private sector organisations and communities affected by the changing delta environment.

For more information about the research, please contact Prof Matt Baillie Smith, Melisa Maida or Sumana Banerjee.


Geography and Environmental Sciences Courses

With a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate and distance learning Geography and Environmental Sciences courses, whatever you want to get out of university, let us show you why you want Northumbria University, Newcastle!


Geography and Environmental Sciences Staff

Our Geography and Environmental Sciences students learn from the best – inspirational academic staff with a genuine passion for their subject. Our courses are at the forefront of current knowledge and practice and are shaped by world-leading and internationally excellent research.

a group of people around each other

Undergraduate Open Day Events

Looking to study in with us in September? Our Undergraduate Open Day Events are the perfect opportunity for you to find out as much as you can about our wide range of courses and world-class facilities.

Latest News and Features

Front row, L-R: Professor Matthew Johnson from Northumbria University and Piotr Mahey from ACCESS: Policy are pictured with members of the ACCESS: Policy team (left) and Northumbria University students (right) selected to be part of the first ACCESS: Climate and Environment programme.
a group of people pictured sitting around a board game, holding up cards which are part of the game and smiling at the camera.
Dr Monika Markowska at what was Lake Chew Bahir in southern Ethiopia.
AI can map giant icebergs from satellite images 10,000 times faster than humans 
Ambleside and Great Langdale, within the historic county of Westmorland, as surveyed by the Land Use Survey of Britain in 1931/32. Large areas of upland Britain were classified as rough hill pasture or commons- yellow shading (Copyright: Giles Clark, CC-BY-NC-SA).
The land use of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Gateshead as surveyed by the Land Use Survey of Britain between 1931 and 1935 (Copyright Giles Clark, CC-BY-NC-SA)
Meltwater drips from winter sea ice grounded as the tide drops. Photo from British Antarctic Survey
Life On Our Planet
More events

Upcoming events

Back to top