11% of the total contribution comes from the RMG sector alone in Bangladesh’s economy. 80% of the total exports are covered by garments alone. This colossal operation employs four to five million people in the country. Lack of proper education and awareness keeps the RMG workers away from the benefits of banking. The lack of financial resilience often puts them in a position of financial desperacy. This results in them seeking loans from neighbors, family members & local loan sharks.
With a view to solving this financial crisis, Swisscontact launched the project Sarathi to create more involvement of the RMG workers in banking. Besides, another focal point of this project was to improve the worker’s lifestyle by educating them about the efficient way of salary management through mainstream baking. As a lot of garment companies still pay their workers in cash, this was a necessary step to aware the workers of efficient management for a better future.
Enroute worked as an implementation partner in this project in the first phase between 2016-2020. The concentration of service was bringing as many RMG workers as possible under the sphere of formal banking to improve their financial health. During this time, sustainable business models have been designed and tested together with RMG factories and commercial banks. Through the partnership of 49 RMG factories and 4 commercial banks, this project was implemented.
Creating awareness, training the garment workers & successfully opening their first bank account has been Enroute’s key contribution to this project. In the first phase with the help of Enroute 76,000 RMG workers opened their bank account.
In addition to this through demand generation activities and awareness campaigns around 200,000 people learned the importance of associating with formal banking. Not just that we were also able to be aware of managing the household budget management, formal savings & credit opportunities through our 242 literacy sessions for 17,850 RMG workers . The project as a whole in the first phase was a great success as Enroute was able to surpass the success perimeters remarkably.