To reduce vulnerability and increase wellbeing of vulnerable and marginalised char dwellers living in the northern char region of Bangladesh.
Chars are riverine land, susceptible to erosion and soil deposition, which remain disconnected from mainland either seasonally or throughout the year. Due to this unique geographical positioning, Bangladesh government considers the char region as pocket of poverty and the 7th 5-year plan of the government emphasises poverty eradication in such locations. These chars have huge potential for livestock rearing and crop production, however, char households lack access to quality agro-inputs, production knowledge, information, market linkage, financial and other services. The constraints result in lower productivity and quality which leads to lower income. Limited income and opportunities hinder formation of substantial livelihoods capital (financial, physical, human, social and natural) of char households, which is essential to cope with the vulnerable context (economic, physical, social, political and natural) of the chars.
Chars have the potential of becoming a prominent production zone of Bangladesh but the underperforming market system lacks private and public investments. The broader aim of M4C is thus to make private and public actors realize the potential so that they invest in the region as well as provide services leading to enhancement of economic performance of the poor char households.
To realize this goal, the project’s Theory of Change (ToC) follows mainly two major activity sets where one activity stream focuses on facilitating private businesses/ public agencies to expand customer and producer base, improve quality and/or introduce products and services in chars integrating cross-cutting themes (WEE, governance, CSPM, DRR) and the other activity stream focuses on supporting a relevant public institution to capitalise and anchor char relevant data/experiences (private sector strategies, business models, advocacy). Thus, the major stakeholders of the project are multiple agricultural companies, micro-finance institutions and public sector organizations operating in Bangladesh.
Char households are the target beneficiaries of this project. Project’s internal assessments and donors’ independent review has validated that char HHs are investing income to intensify/extensify/diversify farm businesses and are continuing to improve their economic performance. This has been largely possible since char HHs are accessing quality agro-inputs, information, markets and financial services.
M4C promoted 20 business models and supported 1 500+ service providers e.g. agro-input companies, distributors, retailers, traders, microfinance institutions, etc. to promote 60 services e.g. distribution and promotion of quality agro-inputs, post-harvest/processing information and services, seasonal loans for crops and livestock, etc. 25 of these services were DDR-relevant and 20 services targeted women.
Until November 2019, M4C benefitted 1,24,400 char households with an additional income of 20.7 Million Swiss Franc which is equivalent to BDT 154.4 Crore.
Benefitted char households used the additional income to reduce their vulnerability and improve family wellbeing i.e. house renovation, better consumption, sending childern to schools; reinvestment in agriculture and trading, cultivation area expansion, asset/capital accumulation.