The ready-made garments (RMG) sector in Bangladesh has witnessed remarkable growth over the past few decades and has made significant contributions to the country’s GDP. Accounting for 85% of total exports, this sector employs 4.4 million workers, with 65% of them being women. However, the lifestyle of these workers has seen limited improvement due to the lack of accessible and affordable financial services, healthcare, legal aid, and other basic amenities.
Recognizing these challenges and the need for comprehensive support, BRAC has taken the initiative to establish “one-stop service centers” aimed at enhancing the lives of both garment workers and community members. This innovative solution focuses on providing affordable primary healthcare, skill training, job placement assistance, legal support for family and land-related matters, and essential financial services such as Deposit Pension Scheme (DPS), health insurance, and daycare centers for the workers’ children.
To ensure the project’s sustainability and understand the acceptance and impact of different services, BRAC has enlisted the help of LightCastle Partners to develop a potential business case.
The primary objective of the Empowering the RMG Workers Living in Urban Slums of Dhaka (ERMG) Project is to assess the current status of the six services provided by the one-stop service centers, evaluating their acceptability and desirability among the beneficiaries. Additionally, the project aims to analyze the indirect impact on factory management and donors, thus creating a business strategy and potential business plan.
To achieve these goals, the team from LightCastle Partners has conducted focus group discussions with RMG workers and community members. Furthermore, interviews were conducted with RMG buyers, donors, factory management, the ERMG team, and other external stakeholders within the ERMG ecosystem.
Based on the insights gathered from the FGD participants, interviews of the stakeholders as well as the cost-revenue data of the project, the LightCastle team was able to gauge the effectiveness of the study in terms of its social impact, its profitability, and desirability among stakeholders and provide strategic recommendations for the project.