Madargonj Development Project

This project works on the eastern side of the Jamuna river, west of Jamalpur town. Working primarily with Bengali communities, the project has been in operation for 8 years.

  • Opportunities: Limited, but new income opportunities achieved through the Symbiosis model of working as a group rather than individually.
  • Challenges: Its isolation means that it has fewer services than most in Bangladesh and the area is very low and floods annually. The availability of schooling and health services for families is limited too.
  • Achievements: 32 groups with 510 members. Symbiosis has been able to unite the people in the savings group and broaden their income sources.


MadarganjShaplaThe Shapla Women's Group

The village of Atattur Char is on a sandbar in the middle of the river. Frequently cut off and with bad roads and little infrastructure, the people in this community are isolated and very poor. With high rates of illiteracy, neither women nor men knew much about their rights, the importance of education, basic healthcare or environmental issues. When Symbiosis staff went to visit the village, the community people were delighted. After a baseline survey was completed, 20 of the community’s most needy members were selected for a Functional Education Class, and then went on to form the ‘Shapla Women’s Group’, each saving about 14c a week.

The Shapla women are very enthusiastic and have been very successful. They have started a small business together, buying and selling rice, adding their healthy profit to their capital. The women are very happy about getting interest on their savings and increasing their income, and are together discussing issues affecting women in their community, such as women’s rights, the detrimental effect of child marriage and dowries and about the importance of marriage registration. They look forward to the future thanks to Symbiosis.