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

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.

The Project

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.

Project Goals

The overall goal of M4C’s Phase II remains unchanged from Phase I which is to reduce vulnerability and increase wellbeing of char dwellers. The following are the indicators and initial projections of expected results at this level:

  • The project expects to increase accumulated income of CHF 6.00 Million for 25,000 poor char households comprising 100,000 women, men and children.
  • For producing households, the above increase in income will contribute to reduced vulnerability as evidenced, for example, by increase in choice, changes in savings, assets, diversification, etc.
  • Another indicator at this level relates to the economic empowerment of women in terms of, income, efficiency, skills and/or decision making.

Important Links


Project progress in 2017-2018

  • M4C is working with 650 service providers to promote 25 services related to agro-input supply and production services, agro-output market and financial services.
  • 54,400 small holders (Household) have been reached from the beginning of the phase 2017 till the end of 2018. 
  • 11,400 small holders (Household) have increased annual net income during the same period. 
  • Total net income generated for the year 2018 is 1,114,000 CHF.

Project partner

  • Practical Action
  • Rural development Academy (RDA), Bogra

Project countries

  • Bangladesh

Project duration

01.2017 - 12.2019


  • SDC
  • Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Government of Bangladesh

Working area


Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97
E-Mail info@STOP-SPAM.swisscontact.org