Sarathi-Progress through Financial Inclusion is a 36-month – January 2018 to December 2020 – financial inclusion project, aiming to bring ready-made garment (RMG) workers, especially women, within the realm of formal banking services.
The project is jointly funded by MetLife Foundation and Swisscontact.
Swisscontact Bangladesh held an online webinar on Monday titled "Sarathi-Progress through Financial Inclusion: Knowledge Sharing Event," focusing on the project's experience, challenges and achievements to date, according to a press statement.
The project attempts to empower RMG workers by facilitating their involvement in conducting financial transactions as account holders and clients through wage digitisation.
The project hosted the webinar after reaching major milestone achievements such as 66,000 RMG worker salary accounts being opened, 64 alternate delivery channels – like ATMs, agent points, mini branches – being established and 17,000 RMG workers being reached through financial literacy training.
The representatives from commercial banks, RMG factories, international RMG buyers, BKMEA, BGMEA, international buyers, and other relevant stakeholders of financial inclusion participated in the virtual event.
The key segment of the event was a panel titled "Prospect of Financial Inclusion for RMG Workers in Bangladesh."
It was moderated by Ms Syeda Ishrat Fatema, team leader of Sarathi; and featured: Mohammad Hatem, 1st vice president, BKMEA; Mohammad Abdul Momen, director, BGMEA; Sarder Akhter Hamed, senior executive vice president and head of Channel Banking, Bank Asia Ltd; Mohammad Mahbub Sobhan, head of business, Agent Banking Division, The City Bank Ltd; Syed Faisal Omar Senior Executive VP and head, International Division, Southeast Bank Ltd; Ms Syeda Shaila Ashraf, general manager-Human Resources, Renaissance Group (Millennium Textiles Ltd); Kazy Mohammad Iqbal Hossain, South Asia Regional Sustainability manager, Lindex HK Ltd, Bangladesh Liaison Office, read the release.
The main topic discussed by all of the esteemed individuals above was the current financial inclusion landscape and how it needs to be adapted, going forward, to yield the most prospects, it read.
Going forward, Sarathi hopes to lend its knowledge, through a variety of knowledge products and this webinar, to help any party looking to participate to further the cause of financial inclusion in Bangladesh, read the statement.
One such knowledge product, "Wage Digitisation Manual for RMG Factories" presents the step-by-step process of wage digitisation at an RMG factory. Any interested party can find the manual on Swisscontact Bangladesh's website, it added.