"Stand Up Against Violence": Vulnerable Women in the Ready Made Garments Sector of Bangladesh

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"Stand Up Against Violence": Vulnerable Women in the Ready Made Garments Sector of Bangladesh

Bangladesh
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

In this project, Awaj Foundation will be working with violence against women workers, especially in the Ready Made Garments sector of Bangladesh. There are about 2.5 million workers in the RMG sector, about 80% of whom are women aged between 16-25 years. They are institutionally uneducated, economically poor and socially vulnerable. Women garment workers are the main force for foreign currency earnings in Bangladesh, which is a major contributor to our economy. But the position of the women garment workers are getting worst day by day.

Awaj Foundation is a workers' rights organization that has been working with workers' rights issues, giving awareness and capacity building training, legal aid on family and labour law, and health care to ready made garments workers of Bangladesh since 2003.

Awaj plans to implement this project, with the $5,000 from Ashoka and Campus of Excellence to give awareness training to 300 Ready Made Garments Workers on (a) Family Law (b) Gender Equity. 18 trainings will be given on each topic (total 36) over a period of 6 months. After this, this pilot project will be scaled up through partnership and networking with owners associations such as BGMEA, BKMEA, buyers, other development and non-profit agencies.

This is an innovative project, as many workers' rights organizations working in this sector concentrate on awareness training and capacity building of workers regarding labour law issues but fall behind on other gender violence issues these workers face. Awaj's legal cell faces complains from many workers regarding family violence, dowry, and alimony related violence issues, problems women face regarding eve teasing, gender equity, sexual harrassment and violence, among others. Many women are unable to exercise their legal family rights simply because they did not know that they need to register their marriage. Awaj thus feels, the rising need to aware workers: mostly female but also male (for gender awareness) on their legal rights regarding family law, as well as aware them about gender equity.

About You
Organization:
Awaj Foundation
Section 1: About You
First Name

Mehzabin

Last Name

Ahmed

Website
Organization

Awaj Foundation

Country

, DHA

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is this initiative/innovation linked to any established organization?

Yes

Organization Name

Awaj Foundation

Organization Phone

+88028834042

Organization Address

H 61/B. 3rd Floor. Amtoli. New Airport Road. Mohakhali. Dhaka 1212

Organization Country

, DHA

Is your organization a

CSO/NGO

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Your idea
What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

When was the project initiated? or When are you planning to begin?

May 1st, 2010

What kind of beneficiaries is your initiative addressed to?

Women, Youth.

Describe the profile of the beneficiaries of this project

In this project, Awaj Foundation will be working with violence against women workers, especially in the Ready Made Garments (RMG) sector of Bangladesh. There are about 2.5 million workers in the RMG sector, about 80% of whom are women aged between 16-25 years. They are institutionally uneducated, economically poor and socially vulnerable. Women garment workers are the main force for foreign currency earnings in Bangladesh, which is a major contributor to our economy. But the position of the women garment workers are getting worst day by day. They face violence at home and in the work place due to lack of knowledge about the law and gender equity awareness.

What is your initiative’s implementation strategy?

For realizing the rights of the women workers, different awareness sessions will be conducted in with audio visual IEC materials. Training will be organized for the worker representatives for developing their knowledge on famil laws and skill on rationale mediation of their needs as well as gender equity. Social communication skill and networks will also be developed to connect the workers issue with other national socio-economic development agenda.

On the other hand for ensuring the proper response from the factory management, gender sensitization events will be organized for the employers.

As in all stages of project implementation a tripartite consensus of women workers, employers and government will be maintained to ensure the interest of every stakeholder, it will be sustained due to their own interest.

Moreover, pressure groups, media and specially different bodies of the government will ensure the sustainability of the good practices produced by the project interventions.

In your opinion, what are the main barriers or obstacles in connection with this theme?

Obstacles will rise from as the workers are institutional uneducated. In addition, obstacles may arise from fundamentals.

What type of partnerships you have or intend to generate strategic alliances with for the development of this initiative? Choose all that apply

State departments or areas, International organizations, Non-Government organizations, Private companies, Social organizations.

Describe with whom you have generated these alliances and how

Awaj Foundation has been working on workers’ rights issues since 2003. The organization itself evolved from an activist group of Ready Made Garment workers. From its inception it has been advocating for the rights of the garment workers specially the females. Besides, it provides legal and medical support in need based cases. A group of specialized professionals work with Awaj Foundation for the advancement of the workers rights movements. The organization has already proven its credibility to all the stakeholders in home and abroad.

On an average, Awaj employees have 10-15 years experience working with workers in the Ready Made Garments Industry. Awaj also has networks with owners associations such as BGMEA, BKMEA, buyers, government officials in the labor and commerce ministry, networks with international and national organizations such as GTZ, OxfamGB, Action Aid, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Systain, Bangladesh Mohila Porishod, Shamajik Protirodh Committee, Bangladesh Institute of Labor Justice (BILS), Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), who are strategic partners. Awaj has networks with buyers such as GAP, H&M, PUMA, Guldenpfenning, Kik Textil, Tchibo, Leadil, etc.

Awaj currently has projects: "Empowering Women Workers in the RMG Sector" with GTZ Progress, "Occupational Health and Safety Awareness Training" with KikTextil, and "Health Care for RMG Workers" with KikTextil. Through these projects and others, Awaj has formed partnership with the mentioned donors and various other organizations mentioned above.

In addition, Awaj will work with the civil society and media through out and after the project.

What are the main results generated and/or expected to generate by means of this initiative?

About 300 women workers (direct beneficiaries) and 1800 indirect beneficiaries, and their family members will be sensitized on gender equity and family law and their rights. They will be living in a violence free environment. Factory management, civil society, and media is sensitized on gender equity and violence.

What is the main impact that your initiative might generate?

Women Workers, family members, government, employers, civil society, media and other stakeholders are sensitized and responsive to women's rights and gender equity. Women workers in the RMG sector are working in a violence and exploitation free environment and have violence free family life.