There are more than 2 million people living in around 900 chars (river islands) formed by three major rivers Jamuna, Padma and Teesta in north and north-western Bangladesh . Economic opportunities for these poor and vulnerable char dwellers, mostly dependent on agriculture and livestock for livelihood, are impeded due to geographical isolation, lack of access to basic services, weak markets and effects of climatic hazards such as floods. However, chars can transform into prominent production zone for its high soil fertility and land availability with a functioning market system for the poor, contributing to pro-poor growth/ poverty alleviation, Making Markets Work for the Jamuna, Padma and Teesta Chars (M4C) aims to reduce poverty and vulnerability of char households in ten districts of northern Bangladesh by facilitating market systems that enhances opportunities for employment and income generation.
The M4C portfolio includes agriculture/farming sectors such as maize, chili, jute, onion, groundnut, mustard, rice in addition to handicrafts as off-farm and char transport system and financial services as cross-cutting sectors. The project has implemented several interventions in these sectors since 2012 in partnership with relevant private and public stakeholders. As opposed to direct service provisions, M4C facilitates broad range of public agencies (research, extension), private companies (agro-input, agro-processing) and local service providers (retailers, traders, etc.) to promote and provide inputs and services, strengthen supply chains, as well as test new business models to bring about required changes in the market systems. M4C also addresses cross-cutting issues such as Women's Economic Empowerment (WEE) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in its activities within these sectors.
M4C is a 5-year project, mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, and implemented by Swisscontact and Practical Action in collaboration with Rural Development Academy, Bogra.
1. DCED Case Study on WEE (2014)
2. Publications on WEE examples of M4C (2014):
M4C facilitates market systems (crops, livestock and financial services) to reduce poverty and
vulnerability of char (riverine island) households of northern Bangladesh that enhances opportunities for
income generation. During the extended project period (2017-19), M4C aims to facilitate additional
income generation of USD 6 million for 25,000 households residing in chars of three northern districts.
2011 - 2019