Workshop on Women, Men and Labor Markets in Bangladesh:
Constraints, Choices and Policy Challenges

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Women have great opportunities to contribute to the national economy. Despite of the opportunities, one of the barriers to the women is having lack of confidence. Again, women are being harassed in different ways in the buses, markets, offices or in public places by the men who also led them to decrease the confidence. Besides these, the unpaid works of women are being ignored. These observations were made by the specialists at the daylong workshop titled “Women, Men and Labor Markets in Bangladesh: Constraints, Choices and Policy Challenges” organized by The Center for Gender and Social Transformation (CGST) of BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University on December 2, 2017 at the city.

Prof. Naila Kabeer, Department of International Development and Gender Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science; Ms. Simeen Mahmud, Head, and Lopita Huq, Research Fellow of CGST presented the findings from the research project on “Choice, Constraint and Gender Dynamics of Labour Markets in Bangladesh.” The papers discussed how choice and constraints interact to shape the labor market behavior of women and men using survey and qualitative data from 8 districts in Bangladesh.

Ms. Mahmud said that according to the latest survey conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS); only 36 percent women were involved in labor in the country. But in two surveys conducted in 2008 and 2015, the data revealed that 67 percent of women are involved in labor market.

Charing of the workshop Prof. Ashwini Deshpande of the Department of Economics of Delhi School of Economics mentioned it would be helpful to know more about women involved in labor. She urged to think about what can be done for these women engaged in labor.

Prof. Kabeer; Dr. Shahidur Rahman, BRAC University and Dr. Mahmudur Rahman, University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh (ULAB) presented preliminary findings from a collaborative research project on “Changes in the Governance of Garment Global Production Networks: Lead Firm, Supplier and Institutional Responses to the RANA Plaza Disaster” funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. The findings discussed how employers and workers in the Bangladesh RMG sector assess their experience with the Accord/Alliance agreements that were put in place in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza disaster.
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BIGD’s delegation made a study visit to Beijing 
for establishment of University Industry Linkage in Bangladesh

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In Bangladesh there are 200000 foreign employees working in mid and higher level managerial positions of various garments industries. At the same time, Bangladeshi universities produce graduates who are not well-suited with the demand of the job market. In this perspective, The Government of Bangladesh (GoB) is implementing the Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) with an objective of up-skilling of workforce for productive and priority sectors, anchored in the National Skills Development Policy (NSDP), 2011 and for supporting government and private institutions, non-government organizations and industry associations achieve the above objective.

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University is going to establish Executive Development Centre collaborating with three other renowned public and private universities of Bangladesh with the support of SEIP and Ministry of Finance, GoB to produce world class manager in garments industry with the aim of gradual replacement of a large number of foreign nationals at top level of this sector and remitting US$5 billion each year. One of the broad aims of the Executive Development Programme (EDP) is to successfully implement the University Linkage model in Bangladesh like China, India and Japan.

In order to have first-hand exposure on university-industry linkage a SEIP Delegation comprising of SEIP team members, Chief Coordinators and Coordinators of four universities and led by Mr. Md. Khairul Islam, Deputy Executive Project Director, SEIP Project made a study visit to Beijing, China during 14-17 November 2017. BIGD’s Research Fellow, Dr. Md Shanawez Hossain; Senior Research Associate, Mohammad Sirajul Islam; Senior Officer - Training, Jannatun Naim represented BIGD, BRAC University during the visit and attended the China Education Development Experience Sharing and Partnership Training Series I, University-Industry Linkage Training Programme.

A day-long Seminar with participation of Bangladesh delegation and faculty members of Graduate School of Education, Institute of Economics of Education, Peking University was held on 14 November. Along with other professors from different Universities, Dr Md. Shanawez Hossain presented the Executive Development Plan for knitwear sub-sector. On the next day, another daylong seminar was held at Beijing Vocational College of Transportation followed by Industry inspection to get theoretical and practical experience about China's vocational education system. End of the day Bangladeshi delegate also visited an industry partner site.

The tour provided the opportunity to get the theoretical and practical knowledge about the University Industry Linkage (UIL) programme and a well-rounded foundation upon which to build knowledge for successfully implementing the UIL in Executive Development Programme (EDP). This visit also focused on the educational experiences with industry related research and training programme. As well as learning about various programme’s history, model and research on UIL model and opened up the opportunity to collaborate with the top ranking university of China for the EDP programme. BIGD delegation was awarded with certificates from Peking University for successfully contributing on “Education Development Experience Sharing and Partnership Series I” training.  
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20171114 135720

In Bangladesh there are 200000 foreign employees working in mid and higher level managerial positions of various garments industries. At the same time, Bangladeshi universities produce graduates who are not well-suited with the demand of the job market. In this perspective, The Government of Bangladesh (GoB) is implementing the Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) with an objective of up-skilling of workforce for productive and priority sectors, anchored in the National Skills Development Policy (NSDP), 2011 and for supporting government and private institutions, non-government organizations and industry associations for achieving the above objective.


BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University is going to establish Executive Development Centre collaborating with the three other renowned public and private universities of Bangladesh with the support of SEIP and Ministry of Finance, GoB to produce world class manager in garments industry with the aim of gradual replacement of a large number of foreign worker on top level in this sector and remitting US$5 billion each year. One of the broad aims of the Executive Development Programme (EDP) is to successfully implement the University Linkage model in Bangladesh like China, India and Japan.

In order to have first-hand exposure on university-industry linkage the SEIP Delegation comprising with SEIP team members, Chief Coordinators and Coordinators of four universities and led by Mr. Md. Khairul Islam, Deputy Executive Project Director, SEIP Project made a study visit to Beijing, China during 14-17 November 2017. BIGD’s Research Fellow, Dr. Md Shanawez Hossain; Senior Research Associate and Lecturer, Mohammad Sirajul Islam; Senior Officer - Training, Jannatun Naim represented BIGD, BRAC University during the visit and attended the China Education Development Experience Sharing and Partnership Training Series I, University-Industry Linkage Training Program.

A day-long Seminar with participation of Bangladesh delegation and faculty members of Graduate School of Education, Institute of Economics of Education, Peking University was held on 14 November. Along with other professors from different Universities, Dr Md. Shanawez Hossain presented the Executive Development Plan for knitwear sub-sector. On the next day, another daylong seminar was held at Beijing Vocational College of Transportation followed by Industry inspection to get theoretical and practical experience about China's vocational education system. End of the day Bangladeshi delegate also visited an industry partner site.  

The tour provided the opportunity to get the theoretical and practical knowledge about the University Industry Linkage (UIL) programme and a well-rounded foundation upon which to build knowledge for successfully implementing the UIL in Executive Development Programme (EDP). This visit also focuses on the educational experiences with industry related research and training programme. As well as learning about various programme’s history, model and research on UIL model and opened up the opportunity to collaborate with the top ranking university of China for the EDP programme. BIGD delegation was awarded with certificates from Peking University for successfully contributing on “Education Development Experience Sharing and Partnership Series I” training. 
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Certificate Ceremony of
1 st Batch Graduates of the Academy of Work (AoW) Programme


The Certificates handing over ceremony of the first batch of the Academy of Work (AoW), a residential and academic programme of trade unionists, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, was held on October 28, 2017 at the capital. The AoW is a joint collaboration of Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES), a non-profit German foundation funded by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University and Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) which endeavors to uphold the causes of working people and trade unions of Bangladesh. In an attempt to create an all-inclusive, constructive representation of workers’ interests, a more effective social dialogue and a discussion about responsibilities along the global supply chain, the AoW concluded with this event after three months of residential training sessions.

The first cohort of AoW consisted of sixteen mid-level, active trade unionists from industries such as the ready made garments, construction, transport, as well as government service sectors like postal services and telecommunications.

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The event was attended by former labour and employment Secretary Mr. Mikail Shipar as the chief guest, who handed over certificates to the successful fellows. The programme was also attended by Dr. Wajedul Islam Khan, Joint-coordinator of Sramik Karmochari Oikya Parishad (SKOP) and Mr. Amirul Haque Amin, former Chairman of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) and Mr. Mesbahuddin Ahmed, member of Advisory Council of BILS.

Mr. Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmmed, Executive Director of BILS was present at the event as a moderator while Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director of BIGD, BRAC University and Ms. Franziska Korn, Resident Representative of FES Bangladesh spoke on the occasion.

Dr. Rahman emphasized for upgrading the worker - employer - policymakers relationship and skills development of trade union leaders in the ceremony. Congratulating all 16 graduates for successfully completing the course he said ‘BIGD is proud to be a part of such an important and timely initiative’. He also emphasized that upgrading the worker-employer relationship will critically determine whether Bangladesh can continue to achieve the extraordinary success of the last few decades.

Through six thought provoking modules on subjects such as: (i) Labour policies, (ii) Globalization and trade, (iii) Supply chain and workers’ rights, (iv) Health and safety, (v) Project management and (vi) Leadership skills, this three-month training course not only intended to strengthen the capacity of the workers’ leaders but also to ensure that the outcome of the training benefits the workers and ultimately the nation.

Addressing in the event  Dr. Shanawez Hossain, Research Fellow BIGD and one of the resource person of AoW from BIGD said, the program will ultimately help almost 2 million workers who join Bangladesh’s labour force each year to be more aware of their rights, position in the global supply chain and roles and responsibilities of international brands. In this regard he emphasized the important role of the graduates of the 1st batch to disseminate their acquired knowledge among others.

Guest speakers from the field of academia, as well as from national and international organisations also attended and shared their valuable experiences and insights with the participants at the ceremony.

Next batch of this training is expected to commence from early 2018.




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IDRC’s Monitoring Visit to BIGD

IDRC Visit


Dr.  Samar Verma, Senior Programme Specialist of International Development Research Centre (IDRC) visited BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University on 25 October, 2017. BIGD Executive Director Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman welcomed him to BIGD and discussed vision, mission, objectives, targeted outputs, utilization of funds in Phase II. He also expressed sincere appreciation to IDRC for the grant under the Think Tank Initiative (TTI) phase II provided to BIGD over last three years which has enabled so many of the accomplishments including two annual flagship publications of BIGD to be sustained by the IDRC grant. BIGD is receiving core funding from TTI as one of the two think tanks in Bangladesh.

Later, Dr. Verma participated in a number of meetings with Research team, Communications team and Finance, Administration, IT & HR team. Different teams made separate presentations on the responsibilities, activities, the ways of works, achievements, and the targets/plans of each team to be achieved in 2018 and further on.
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Proper housing for the people living in urban poverty is a prerequisite to achieve SDG-11
Experts says at the National Housing Convention

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People’s migrations towards urban settlement in search for a better livelihood are increasing day by day. Every year more than 5 lakh people come to live in the Dhaka city from all over the country. While the population of the city is increasing every day, one in every three of its inhabitant’s lives in the slums is deprived of basic facilities. In this context, proper housing for the people living in urban poverty has become a prerequisite to achieve sustainable development goal or SDG-11 (pertaining to shelter and settlement), and to ensure planned urbanisation and continued economic progress of the country.

Experts and public representatives expressed these views at a programme titled National Convention on Housing Finance for People Living in Urban Poverty' held on October 15, 2017 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka. The Urban Development Programme of BRAC, in partnership with the National Housing Authority (NHA), Urban Development Directorate (UDD), Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP), Municipal Association of Bangladesh (MAB) and BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) organised the convention. 

Chief Guest of the convention Engineer Mosharraf Hossain MP, Minister, Ministry of Housing and Public Works said, 81 per cent of houses of the country are in the rural areas and 80 per cent of these are of low quality. The country is losing 235 hectares of farmland every day, which is transformed for making residence. He told that the government has already formulated a law titled "Urban and Regional Planning Act, 2016" for making a planned housing system not only in the urban areas but also in the rural areas. "Under the law, rural people will have to take permission from union parishad chairman or municipality mayor or upazila nirbahi officer for constructing house," he added. 


Engr. Mosharraf said the government has a plan to construct about 10,000 apartments for the slum people to ensure their basic needs. "As the population pressure in the city is increasing, it shows that more slums are being developed. Thus, it is not possible to deal with the housing problems. It has to be closed," he added. The minister also called for making a planned housing system in the both urban and rural areas to stop housing on arable lands.To solve the problem, he suggested that BRAC may collaborate with the government in this initiative, the housing Minister said.

Chaired by BRAC's Senior director for Strategy, Communications and Empowerment Dr. Asif Saleh, the event were also attended by Secretary to the Housing and Public Works Ministry Md. Shahid Ullah Khandaker, Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Mr. Sayeed Khokon, Rajshahi city Mayor Mr. Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul, Barisal city Mayor Mr. Ahsan Habib Kamal, Bangladesh Institute of Planners General Secretary Prof. Dr. Md Akhtar Mahmud, BIGD Executive Director Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, MAB President Mr. Alhaj Md. Abdul Baten, Urban Development Directorate Director Dr. Khurshid Jabin Hossain Toufiq, and National Housing Authority Chairman and Additional Secretary Mr. Khandakar Akhtaruzzaman as Special Guests.

The aim of the convention was to establish multi-level partnerships for pro-poor city planning and housing financing to achieve the targets of National Housing Policy and SDG-11. A key note and three evidence-based housing models: BRAC Jhenaidah community-led housing model, UNDP Sirajganj housing model and NHA low-income housing model were presented at the convention.

The speakers focused on stronger collaboration between the government and non-governmental agencies and involving mayors, other public representatives and relevant actors to promote urban planning facilitating the people living in urban poverty and providing them with housing loan services. 

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Dr. Shanawez Hossain, Head Urban, Climate Change and Environment (UCCE) cluster of BIGD also attended the event as a panel discussant on the plenary session titled Partnership and Collaboration on Housing Finance. Advocate Azmat Ullah Khan, Adviser, Municipal Association of Bangladesh (MAB) presented the keynote paper, where Mohammad Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul, Mayor, Rajshahi City Corporation chaired the session.


Around 75 mayors including five city mayors attended the event. The 300 guests included representatives and officials from UNDP, Policy makers, Government and Non-Government stakeholders discussed on pro-poor city planning and housing financing solutions at the convention. 


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