New brief on sustainability of our Chars Business Centres!

A CLP participant gets a quick refresher on livestock management approaches.

With a view of creating a better and pro-poor market infrastructure on the chars, CLP established 70 Char Business Centres (CBCs) across its working areas. CBCs were created to serve as a central body to connect local business groups, input providers and mainland buyers and attract market services that were sorely needed on the riverine islands.

CBCs were generally hailed as a successful model as they facilitated a better, more productive and profitable business environment for all types of char value chain actors in the milk, meat and fodder sectors. Acting as an informal market place and market information centre, CBCs were instrumental in helping the char farmers and local input providers/buyers to overcome market challenges. Despite the success of CBCs during the Programme support period, the question of whether or not CBCs would sustain after CLP ended in February 2016 arose.

In 2014, a study was commissioned to assess what level of support was required from CLP to increase the likelihood that CBCs would continue operating post-CLP. This assessment resulted in each CBC receiving a grade (A, B or C; A being the best). Grades were based on the scores each CBC received in five different categories (dimensions of sustainability):  institutional, economic, technological, ecological and social. Based on the findings, tailored support was provided to each CBC to strengthen their performance and chances of sustaining.

A follow-up survey was conducted 12 months later (in 2015), after the tailored interventions were complete, using the same methodology. The results show that the additional support provided by CLP greatly increased the likelihood of sustainability for the vast majority of CBCs: the number of CBCs receiving the highest grade (A) increased from 9 at baseline to 56 by 2015.

A short brief with more details on the CBC model, our methodology for grading CBC sustainability, CLP’s tailored interventions and our results is now available here.