On 25th August 2022, BRAC Urban Development Programme organized a National Consultation Workshop to share the impact generated from the Empowering the Ready Made Garments Workers (ERMG) project and discuss the role of the Government of Bangladesh, associations, and other stakeholders in facilitating the well-being of apparel workers.
The event was virtually inaugurated by the Commerce Minister, Tipu Munshi, MP, who stressed the importance of the RMG sector and the well-being of workers. Sk. Mojibul Huq, Programme Manager, UDP, shared the key interventions of the One Stop Service (OSSC) model, followed by a keynote from Zahedul Amin, Director & Co-founder, LightCastle Partners, on the systemic challenges faced by the RMG sector while ensuring the well-being of the workers. The keynote included strategies for scaling the OSSC model in collaboration with other stakeholders in the upcoming phase of the programme.
The special guests who spoke at the event included Md. Ehsan-E-Elahi, Secretary, Ministry of Labor and Employment, Dr. Md. Enamul Haque, Director General, Health Economic Unit-Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Md. Shahidullah Azim, Vice President, BGMEA. The keynotes were followed by discussions on the importance of health insurance for apparel workers and their well-being by Dr. Syed Abdul Hamid, Professor, Institute of Health Economics, Dhaka University. Dr. Khondokar Golam Moazzem, Research Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue, spoke on the existing challenges faced by the RMG sector.
BRAC UDP’s Empowering Ready-made Garments (ERMG) programme’s, a “One Stop Service Center (OSSC)” model, was designed to increase access to affordable and quality services. The centers are set up in three locations for catering to the needs of workers across 30 partner factories. The six major services designed to enhance the well-being of workers consist of primary healthcare, skills training with job placement, legal support on family and land law, financial services such as DPS, health insurance, and a daycare center for children of the workers.
Later, participants including representatives from organizations such as ILO and United Nations shared their perspectives on the state of well-being of workers across the RMG Sector. The event concluded with remarks from Md. Liakath Ali, PhD, Director, BRAC.