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    LightCastle Partners presented the results of their data analyses from IFC’s Tackling Childcare Project at 37th IFC Buyers’ Forum on August 28, 2019. The project seeks to boost female participation in the workforce by fostering the childcare ecosystem in Bangladesh. The project, which has been implemented in 20+ countries across the globe uses employer surveys and focus group discussions to gauge the perspectives and perceptions of employers in terms of offering or facilitating childcare services for female employees. As part of the project, LightCastle has conducted detailed surveys of 306 employers, including 68 manufacturing companies. LightCastle has also conducted focus group discussions of 75+ employees from different industries and socioeconomic backgrounds.

    Results from the analyses of 306 organizations and 68 manufacturing companies were presented at the 37th IFC Buyers’ Forum. Key stakeholders present during the presentation included representatives from international brands (e.g. IKEA, Carrefour), development agencies (e.g. GIZ), non-profits (e.g. Phulki) and other industries. The majority of employers in Bangladesh do not offer childcare solutions in Bangladesh. However, the percentage of employers who offer childcare solutions to employees is higher in the manufacturing sector compared to employers across all sectors collectively. The analyses indicated the provision of daycare solutions can be a win-win situation for all-workers are more productive, companies are more profitable and society enjoys more work-life balance. The results of the analyses also indicate that many organizations cannot take advantage of such benefits as they lack funds and space to implement daycare solutions.

    IFC and LightCastle Partners will incorporate feedback from the event and prepare policy briefs for the private and public sectors. The policy brief drafts will be shared with stakeholders during a roundtable discussion for the Tackling Childcare in October. The roundtable discussion will host public and private stakeholders as well as representatives from the childcare industry in Bangladesh.