Prior to M4C’s intervention, fluctuating water-levels had frequently caused Mogholbasha ghat to remain idle. While during dry seasons, the water-level would be too low for boats to access the dock, during monsoon, the water-level would be too high - creating a sloppy quagmire between the dock and the boats. Under these circumstances, commuting, especially for patients, elderly people, pregnant women and children, and loading-unloading commodities used to be particularly challenging for char-dwellers on a daily basis.
To make things worse, there were no fundamental facilities, such as, restroom(s), a waiting area with sitting arrangement for the passengers, etc. at the dock. Many passengers would simply loiter into nearby houses and impose themselves upon unsuspecting local hosts. Under such dire conditions, the char-dwellers had become habituated to hosting unknown individuals, families and travelling groups who missed their boats, or whose boats had never arrived.
Community consultations revealed that the dilapidated state of the Mogholbasha ghat was a major barrier to the mobility of char-dwellers. This mobility barrier could mean, for example, that agricultural inputs would be late to reach the chars, or that produce headed to mainland markets would have to wait for favorable conditions. Either way, this was a major drawback for local farmers and entrepreneurs.
As a result, working on a mission to facilitate better market interactions, Swisscontact’s M4C project understood the need to intervene. M4C field officers reached out to locals and sought their suggestions to come-up with a solution. Soon after, the solution arose in the form of a floating dock – a make-shift dock which adapts its position with the change in river tide and/or season. M4C built the capacity of local workshops so that they could construct this floating structure. Subsequently, a ghat committee consisting of locals was also formed, to oversee operations and maintenance of the floating dock.
Mogholbasha ghat now experiences a year-round steady stream of moderate number of vessels. Evidently, a minor infrastructural improvement has infinitely boosted this dock’s functionality.
Following the Mogholbasha example, M4C facilitated construction of nine additional floating landing stations (FLS). The Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development invested in an FLS in Meghai ghat (Kazipur, Sirajganj) with fundamental facilities as well. Thus, with a little aid, a local innovation has not only helped solve a local challenge but has also set an example for others.
M4C is mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives and the Government of Bangladesh.