SNV Bangladesh, ECOLEBAN and Oxfam Bangladesh, as part of the SWITCH-Asia program funded by the European Union, celebrated International Women's Day 2017, along with the Tannery Workers Union, Bangladesh, on 8 March 2017.

A rally was organised at the tannery workers’ union office to celebrate the contribution of women to the sustainability of value chains and promote their safety and rights. The rally was attended by female workers and tannery owners and was followed by group discussions. Project managers and team members from SNV Bangladesh, ECOLEBAN and Oxfam Bangladesh were present at this event, emphasising the importance of women’s involvement for the sustainable consumption and production of resources in Bangladesh.

Under the “Improving consumer awareness and access to certified safe tomato and mango products in Bangladesh” project implemented by SNV Bangladesh, around 2.84% of 10,000 mango and tomato farmers are women. But in reality, the number is much higher. Many women do not declare to be farmers because female farmers are not accepted in the current social structure. Focus group discussions led to the conclusion that around 8-10% of producers are women and more than 80% of harvesting and post harvesting activities are being conducted by them. The team is working with processing companies to ensure the participation of female producers in capacity building trainings in order to increase their level of knowledge in food safety issues, good agricultural practices and good handling practices. The objective is to also recognise their contribution as producers and supply chain actors in the processed mango and tomato products in Bangladesh.