The geographical settings and circumstances of the chars make life both economically and socially challenging. Realising the necessity for advancing initiatives, Char Development and Settlement Project (CDSP) was initiated in 1994, of which the fourth
phase of the project is currently undergoing. To assess the impact of the livelihood and social component offered under the integrated development activities of CDSP, we planned to collect two rounds of data on the demography and socioeconomic
characteristics of the households. In 2012, shortly after the initiation of CDSP IV, baseline information was collected from a sample of 1,600 households from the intervention chars and 1,216 households from the non-intervention chars. We found that, over all, the living conditions in the chars are considerably under-developed in comparison to rest of the country. Settlers, who moved in here due to river erosions, are mostly illiterate and rely on farm based self-employment for living. They face high salinity in natural water and therefore, suffer from water borne diseases a lot. Asset ownership is concentrated heavily in land and land is not equally distributed. Residents rely heavily on informal sources of borrowing and the amount borrowed is mostly spent on consumption. Char dwellers are exposed to a multitude of vulnerabilities in terms of natural disasters; moreover, they are further exploited by non-natural devastations as well, such as death of primary earning member, poisoning of poultry/livestock, court case etc. These residents generally cope with these tragedies by borrowing/using their savings. Sometimes they also handle the losses through selling labour in advance or involving their children in income generating activities.