HERfinance is a collaborative initiative that strives to empower low-income women working in global supply chains. In 2015, BSR partnered with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to add wage digitization to all HERfinance programs in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. Through this partnership BSR will partner with international buyers to support their suppliers to switch from cash payroll to digital payroll, while providing workers and factory management with training to enable them to make the transition smoothly. Till now Mamata implemented this program with 16 factories in Chattogram.
Goal: Build the financial capability of low-income employees, especially women, in global supply chains by delivering workplace-based financial education programs and connecting factory employees to appropriate financial services.
• Improve financial literacy of low-income (especially women) workers along global supply chains.
• Increase uptake of financial products and services where they exist and/or introduce new financial products where needed.
• Grow the capacity of locally-based community organizations to implement effective financial literacy trainings in the workplace.
• Partner with the private sector to ensure scale of HERfinance and increased financial inclusion for low-income workers
Target Beneficiaries: Around 30,000 Garments workers.
HERfinance project covered below 16 factories in Chittagong CEPZ, KEPZ, Kalurghat (BISIC), Oxyzen and Monsurabad areas.
Approach of the project:
As per HERfinance project design, trainings are implementing through Peer Approach. Peer Financial Educators are selected by factory middle management who are known as “Hishab Shonggi” and spread the training knowledge by outreach sessions to other workers as well as their family and community
Achievement of HERfinance activities:
Under HERfinance project 2 basic and 1 refresher training provided to the factory workers to ensure a smooth transition to digital payroll and maximize the impact of the project work. MAMATA team conducted training at Chittagong Asian Apparels Ltd. (3161 workforce) in 2020 on Mobile Money and on Financial Management on below 6 financial management topics (modules) through the Peer Financial Educator (PFE) model. As the training topics were related to their monthly hardly earning, so participants received the training knowledge earnestly.
During Covid-19 period MAMATA conducted 3 Virtual training at Chittagong Asian Apparels Ltd. on Hygiene & General health during covid-19, Managing your money & financial resilience during covid-19 and Digital financial services : Benefits & uses.
In 2020 MAMATA team conducted 1 follow up session at Chittagong Asian Apparels Ltd. with randomly selected 50 factory workers in each sessions on the production floor. This scheduled activity organized after each basic training to measure the HERfinance training among the factory general workers who were trained by the HERfinance PFE’s.
Some success of the Closing Factories:
1. Factory workers apply their training knowledge in their daily life specially in COVID-19 pandemic situation.
2. Workers practice the Personal Hygiene behavior which is helped them to protect Covid-19.
3. Conducting online training during the Covid-19 pandemic which has been proven useful for the workers.
4. Factory managers are also taking additional steps to increase the workplace safety.
5. Factory managers easily able to utilize the govt. incentive during the lockdown period.
6. In the Covid-19 pandemic situation the factory owners also used the HERfinance wage digitization knowledge & tools to establish the digital payment system in their other factory.
7. During lock down period workers can easily receive their salary, send money to their home and enjoying mobile recharge by using their mobile money accounts.
8. Financial planning, Budgeting and Savings knowledge help the workers during COVID-19.
9. As a result of budgeting and savings, the lockdown period majority of the workers able to manage financial problem without borrowing.
10. Workers are now enthusiastically using mobile money account for savings, send money, mobile recharge, purchasing goods, paying bill and receiving foreign remittance.