Launch of Inclusive Business Models
SNV's Working with Women project launched its Inclusive Business Models on 25 August 2015. Farhtheeba Rahat Khan, the project's team leader, provided information about the activities and objectives of the project to the audience, which consisted of NGOs, the government sector and various media.
State Minister for the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, Begum Meher Afroze Chumki said in her speech that Bangladesh is advancing economically and socially. Women are also contributing to each of the sectors. But even then they have to face stiff challenges in the garment factories. The Bangladesh government is working relentlessly to resolve such problems. "Already constructions of women’s hostels are underway", she said, "but even the 44 day care centers that are being built are not enough for this huge sector." She said Bangladesh is among the top four textile exporters in the world. But it has not been possible to create a healthy working environment for 80 percent of the women involved in the RMG sector. Noting the lack of health services for women in this sector, Ms Chumki urged the RMG factory owners to come forward in this regard and take action of their own volition.
Mikail Shipar, Labor Secretary, pointed out that RMG sector accounted for 30 percent of Bangladesh’s GDP employing about 3.2 million women. “Most of these women come from poor families and their standard of living still remains rather low. It has not been possible to create a healthy work environment for these women.” Mr Shipar said that all quarters, along the government, must come forward to help improve their living standard.
Martine Van Hoogstraten, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ Charge D’affairs, said: "SNV is an NGO that has been working with the female RMG workers of Bangladesh and have been trying to create a healthy working environment for them. This organisation is also trying to raise the awareness of RMG women about their health issues. These women need to be made aware about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.”
Five business models were presented during the launching event. About 14 factories, in association with 7 service providers will be the first target for the project where at least 25,000 female RMG workers will have access to SRHR products and services. The program ended with closing remarks from Fazlul Hoque, Chairman of Advisory Committee of the Working with Women project.