Experts want to emphasize tackling the impact of Covid-19 on girls and young women Skills training in the informal sector.
Speakers expressed these views at a discussion organised by BRAC's Skills Development Programme (SDP) on Thursday at the BRAC Centre at Mohakhali in the capital.
The speakers observed that the informal sector has been the worst affected in terms of the country's labour market. The situation has its direct impact on the people involved in the sector, risking the livelihood of the people. Women are the worst sufferer as nearly 91.8 per cent of the total women labour force are engaged in the informal economy.
NGO Affairs Bureau director-general KM Tarikul Islam said in the programme, "All the organisations are working to fulfil the aim to have 10 million people employed in the Mujib Borsho (Birth Centenary of Mujib). The government has created a number of industries which will provide employment to women as well. But it's a big challenge to tackle which the non-state development actors should come forward to assist the government."
Former principal coordinator for SDG affairs at the PMO Md Abul Kalam Azad said, "In Bangladesh over 18 million women are employed in the labour market. We must also think what crisis these women may face in their livelihoods in case the Omicron variant of Coronavirus spreads in Bangladesh. We have to be adequately prepared to tackle the situation."
In his closing remarks BRAC's senior director KAM Morshed said, "It is a time when skills development should be a planned option. Many young people can choose skills development education instead of pursuing the path of conventional education."
Research carried out by BRAC last year (2020) revealed that regular earnings dropped by 66% for women involved in the informal sector, while their opportunities for work reduced by 24%.
Unemployment rate increased to 5.30% in 2020 from 4.22% in 2019 due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The STAR has reached 52 districts. Impact of STAR is, 95% are employed after graduation, six-fold increase in the household income, 62% reduction of child marriage.
Apart from these, the risk of dropping out of school has seen an alarming rise due to a prolonged shutdown of educational institutions and economic crisis, which has its inevitable adverse impact on other social situations.
Another study reveals that child marriage saw a staggering rise by 220 per cent between July and September last year. Experts mostly put down the causes of staying out of school and earning.
To recover from the crisis, BRAC puts particular emphasis on the re-engagement of women in the labour market and has accordingly designed its programmes and activities to fulfil that aim.
They said, More than 50 million people involved in the country's informal sector have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. Where women and adolescent girls engaged in this sector still suffered the worst of all. Participation in the labor market through effective skills training should be a high priority to assist them in recovering the situation.
In this programme here also attend AFM Shahidur Rahman, director, Programme Development-Asia, PRL, keynote presentation by Nobonita Chowdhury, director, Gender Justice & Diversity, BRAC, Tasmiah Tabassum Rahman, in-charge, Skills Development Programme, BRAC, and Dr Narayan Chandra Das, senior research fellow, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) and others.