JILAF visited Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on July 9–10 for the SGRA project (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network), which is being implemented with grants from the Japanese government (Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare). During the visit a Training of Trainers (TOT) seminar was held with the aim of strengthening the operation of SGRA cooperative societies (shomobae shomitee). The seminar, which was based on specific action plans decided at the current fiscal year’s first meeting of the Central Roundtable (May 12, 2017), was attended by 27 SGRA cooperative society officials, members of the Central Roundtable, members of Regional Working Committees, and others and featured speakers from Japan’s Zenrosai Kyokai (National Association of Workers’ Welfare and Cooperative Insurance).
At the beginning of the seminar, addresses were heard from Acting President Mojibur Rahman Bhuiyan of the Bangladesh Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-BC), JILAF Assistant Secretary General Ryo Saito, and Mr. Satoru Ogasawara, head of Zenrosai Kyokai’s survey and research department, after which Mr. Naohiro Tsukamoto, a section chief in Zenrosai Kyokai’s survey and research department, spoke, from the perspective of Japanese workers’ mutual aid, about mainly Zenrosai’s mutual-aid schemes (celebration/condolence mutual-aid insurance system).
Participants in unison commented that the seminar had been extremely meaningful and would be useful in the future operation of cooperative societies and that such TOT seminars should be held regularly. They also asked lively questions about, for example, the relationship between Zenrosai (National Federation of Workers and Consumers Insurance Cooperatives) and the Japanese government and trade unions.
After that, the participants divided into six groups, arranged according to each SGRA cooperative society, to compile action plans for the expansion of mutual-aid program menus, which were then presented to all participants. Mr. Ogasawara of Zenrosai Kyokai and JILAF Assistant Secretary General Saito made pertinent comments on them.
JILAF Assistant Secretary General Saito and the SGRA Bangladesh representative then shared information about target zones for new network members, methods of organization, and cooperative society–led skill development training schemes, and all of the participants reaffirmed specific activities from now on and other matters. Finally, Zenrosai Kyokai presented gifts (Japanese hand towels) to all of the participants.
On the second day, the Bangladeshi side took over for lectures and discussions about (1) the schedule for achievement of the current fiscal year’s objectives, (2) the smooth management of cooperative societies, (3) the realization of trusted cooperative societies, and (4) transparency-first fund management and operation, in that order, and the confirmation of future activities.