M4C Publish “Against the Pandemic: Shocks and Resilience among Char Producers and Entrepreneurs”

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Making Markets Work for the Jamuna, Padma, and Teesta Chars (M4C) has published a knowledge document drawn out of a visual ethnography conducted on the impacts of the pandemic on the char economy in general. The document reports some key insights and testimonies captured through an in-depth investigation conducted in August-September 2020. In addition, the investigation explores and visually frames the profound and ingrained nature of the pandemic's impacts on the economy, the growth of the chars, and the market systems that were driving them. 

M4C has helped create a feasible investment climate for agro and financial market actors for nine years while increasing income and productivity through access to quality products and services. Since 2012, the project has benefitted 131,700 char households in ten districts of northern Bangladesh with an additional income of BDT 13,000 per household, as assessed in December 2021. M4C's partnerships with private sector actors and service providers have helped them explore market-based solutions by creating efficient access to agro-input and output markets.

The global shock of the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the growing agro-economy in the chars. The shock had immediate impacts on the char market system that had been growing steadily for a decade, despite the geographic vulnerabilities of char agriculture, infrastructural limitations, and overall detachment from the market. The impacts added new vulnerabilities to the chars and threatened the hard-earned growth achieved in the agro-sectors and the market systems developed.

The first part of the photobook lays a background on the chars' vulnerability context and developmental journey. Next is a glimpse of the making of char markets through catalytic inputs and systemic changes. The third part depicts the visual and narrative details of the impacts of the pandemic on the char economy and market systems. The latter part offers some critical insights on the long-term resonances the pandemic might have on char livelihood and economy. This photobook also explores the coping strategies that char producers and market actors have adopted against the pandemic so far. And the final part covers insights on the early signs of resilience exhibited by the perseverant char-dwellers of northwest Bangladesh. 

M4C is a project of Swisscontact, Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation and Rural Development Academy (RDA), Bogura, mandated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Government of Bangladesh. M4C works to reduce poverty and vulnerability of char households by facilitating market systems that enhance opportunities for income generation. The project plays a catalytic role in the chars' rapidly growing trade and market networks.

2012 - 2024
Entrepreneurial ecosystems
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,...