Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network (SGRA) Project in Bangladesh (May)

Scene of the 1st Central Roundtable meeting

JILAF visited Dhaka from May 7 (Monday) to 13 (Sunday) on the occasion of the fiscal 2018 start in Bangladesh of the SGRA project (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network), which JILAF is implementing with grants from the Japanese government (Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare). Discussions focused on annual plans and specific activities based on the fiscal 2018 project policy.

In Bangladesh, the SGRA project is being conducted by the Central Roundtable (RT) consisting of representatives of government, labour, and management in Bangladesh (the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Bangladesh Council of the International Trade Union Confederation [ITUC-BC], and Bangladesh Employers’ Federation [BEF]), as well as the International Labour Organization (ILO); the Working Group (WG) consisting of national coordinators from the six organizations affiliated to the ITUC-BC; and Regional Working Groups (RWGs) consisting of representatives of government and labour in the districts of Bogra, Khulna, and Chittagong, where the project is being implemented.

At the 1st RT meeting on May 9, after opening addresses by newly appointed ITUC-BC Secretary General Nurul Islam Khan Nasim and JILAF Secretary General Ryo Saito, Secretary General Saito looked back on the achievements and issues of the project in fiscal 2017, and then intensive studies and discussions took place of annual plans and specific activities based on the project policy confirmed at the 3rd RT meeting on January 12, 2018, its final meeting of fiscal 2017. The participants confirmed specific activities for the development of the project in fiscal 2018.

In addition, a Training of Trainers (TOT) seminar was held on May 10 with the focus on strengthening the management of SGRA cooperatives (somobae somity). Ms. Ranufa Akthar, whose efforts in setting up a general cooperative in Gazipur near Dhaka have been highly praised both in Bangladesh and internationally, attended as an instructor. The participants learned about a successful case and actively asked questions about such matters as methods of accumulating reserves, methods of profit return, response at the time of nonpayment or unrecoverable loans, and government approval of reserves.

In the current fiscal year in Bangladesh, efforts will be made to (1) implement various activities to improve and uplift the livelihoods of informal-sector workers in the districts of Bogra, Parsa, Khulna, and Chittagong (establishment and management of somobae somity cooperatives and implementation of vocational training); (2) organization of new network members and follow-up of existing network members; and (3) holding of job-matching activities toward work and occupational support in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the BEF.


05/07Mon1st RT meeting
05/08TueTOT seminar

Photos of the Participants

Address by ITUC-BC Secretary General Nasim at the 1st RT meeting

Explanation of plans at the TOT seminar

Scene of the TOT seminar