Making Markets Work for the Jamuna, Padma and Teesta Chars (M4C) begins Phase III

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Swisscontact is pleased to be entrusted with the implementation of another phase of the M4C project 'Making Markets Work for the Jamuna, Padma and Teesta Chars'. Since 2012, the project aimed to reduce vulnerability and increase wellbeing of marginalised char dwellers living in the northern char region of Bangladesh. Recognising the results of the first two project phases, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has approved the Phase III for another four years (2020-2024).

The Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and the Government of Switzerland have signed a Memorandum of Understanding where the GoB has committed to invest CHF 1.69 million in M4C Phase III. Co-funding from the GoB for a bi-lateral mandated project is highly unprecedented and, therefore, it reflects the GoB’s trust in and appreciation for the impact M4C has had during Phase I and II. Thus far, M4C has benefitted over 120,000 char households, by increasing their net additional income by CHF 20.7 million.

The impact of public-private partnerships

M4C has achieved these results by partnering with both public and private actors. With M4C’s support, the Char Development Research Centre (CDRC), a prime partner of M4C since Phase I, has been able to attract public and private investment in chars and create provisions for new products and services.

The project’s partnerships with over 200 national, regional and local private companies have strengthened the backward and forward linkages in and around chars. It also made products and services more accessible and affordable for char dwellers. As these newly formed partnerships triggered systemic changes in norms and practices, the char markets have become more vibrant, triggering crowding-in from other companies such as Syngenta and BRAC.

The objectives of phase 3

By 2024, the third phase of the project envisions to increase the net additional income of 375,000 char dwellers by CHF 14.5 million across the six districts. In the process, M4C will continue to reduce economic and environmental vulnerability in chars and transform CDRC into an effective public agency that promotes and nurtures long-term public and private investment in chars.