BKMEA took a number of initiatives to improve the working condition in the factories. A significant improvement has been made in the RMG factories in terms of basic compliance, fire, building and electrical safety. In the face of changing dynamics of global garments industry, Bangladeshi RMG factories are facing increased competition from other producing countries and the challenge centered on how to increase the efficiency in the production process. To increase the efficiency, the productivity of the workers needs to be increased and productivity is linked with the nutrition status of the workers. It has been widely acknowledged by the entrepreneurs that healthy and productive workforce is the most important element of RMG industry. Only a few factories took some initiatives to improve the nutritional status of the workers but those were scattered.
Through a joint investment of BKMEA and Nutrition International supported by the Government of Canada, the NoWW (Nutrition of Working Women) initiative aims to benefit a total of 240,000 workers including 180,000 women employed in garment factories in Bangladesh located in Greater Dhaka and Narayanganj over a period of 18 months. The project’s key components are orientation on nutrition for workers and Weekly Iron & Folic Acid (WIFA) supplementation for the female beneficiaries. This project aims to demonstrate a delivery mechanism of nutritional services through the workplace.
The project will contribute to improving the health, nutrition and well-being of workers, especially women, in readymade garment factories. Specifically, the project aims to improve nutrition knowledge and prevent and control anemia by improving the iron status among women of reproductive age working in the RMG sector in Bangladesh.
NoWW project has created an excellent platform to discuss the workplace nutrition with the factories as well as relevant government agencies. As a first workplace nutrition project in Bangladesh, the learning from NoWW will be useful in the policy making framework of Bangladesh Government.
To improve the nutritional status, specifically iron status, of women of reproductive age working in readymade garment factories.
- To make readymade garment workers aware about the importance of nutrition.
- To sensitize the readymade garment workers on WIFAS, dietary diversity and WASH.
- To do advocacy with the government and private sector for ensuring nutritional services to the workers in RMG sector by 2020.
- To establish a sustainable supply and monitoring system of nutritional program using the RMG sector platform by 2020.
- To develop the capacity of a business association (BKMEA) in planning, implementing and monitoring of a nutrition in the workplace program by 2020.
- To design and test a results framework for a workplace nutrition program and use project learning to advocate for the scale-up of the project by the private sector and the government by 2020.
- Improved ability of private sector and government stakeholders to improve workers’ health, nutrition and well-being
- Improved iron stores leading to the prevention and control of anemia in women workers of reproductive age
- Weekly iron-folic acid supplementation (WIFAS) for 180,000 women of reproductive age.
- Dissemination of information on balanced diet, WASH & importance of WIFAS for 60,000 male & 180,000 female workers.
- Advocacy to the private sector for working to improve all workers’ nutrition.
- 180,000 female workers will receive weekly iron and folic acid (WIFA) supplementation
- 240,000 workers (180,000 female; 60,000 male) will receive integrated nutrition education on balanced diet, WASH and importance of WIFAS
Project Implementation Plan:
- 20 master trainers on basic nutrition will be developed by BKMEA.
- These master trainers will trained up 720 nutrition trainer at factory level from the selected 240 factories.
- Nutrition Trainer will provide basic nutrition training among the 240,000 workers.
- 180,000 female workers will receive weekly iron and folic acid (WIFA) supplementation for 72 weeks.
- Dhaka District
- Gazipur District
- Tangail District
- Mymensingh District
- Manikganj District
- Narayganj District
- Narsingdi District
- Baseline of Anaemia status of WRA; & KAP survey on WIFA, Dietary Diversity & WASH of readymade garment workers.
- End-line of Anaemia status of WRA/Project Evaluation of & KAP on WIFA, Dietary Diversity & WASH of readymade garment workers.
There will be a process evaluation of this project when enough experiences have been generated.