Awaj Foundation has been involved in research and advocacy since its inception. We have supported international organizations in their research projects by carrying out field surveys, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. However, in recent years, we have shifted our focus more towards defining a ground-up research agenda that responds to the needs of our members and reflects the in-depth knowledge and unique perspective we have developed through our work.
The Worker’s Voice series is a unique collaboration between Awaj and CSI that provides an in-depth look into both the working and living conditions of workers from their own perspective. The reports get input from large scale surveys (over a thousand workers) and in-depth interviews.
Awaj is currently involved in a participatory action research project on precarious / contractual workers in the RMG sector. This partnership with the Asia Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development (APWLD) is exploring the conditions faced by a category of workers who are rarely the focus of policy discussions or development projects.
We also recently completed a research project on the current state of maternal health benefits and gender-based discrimination in the RMG factories in Bangladesh in partnership with the Fair Labor Association (FLA).
Most of our projects include an advocacy component at the local or national level. We regularly hold consultation meetings with local government officials to sensitize them on the issues faced by workers and get their cooperation. We also do policy advocacy with the BGMEA / BKMEA and the Bangladesh government on issues such as strengthening the labour law to stop GBV and inclusive budgeting for the welfare of workers.
We focus on defining a ground-up research and advocacy agenda that responds to the needs of the workers and reflects the in-depth knowledge we have developed through our work.
Awaj Foundation played a leading role in advocating for the increase of the minimum wage in the RMG sector in 2013 and 2018. We will continue our advocacy in this area until a living wage for garment workers is achieved.
At the international level, Awaj Foundation has played a crucial role in representing the views of RMG sector workers in forums such as the OECD and the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. Our sister union, SGSF is an active member of IndustriALL Global Union and our Executive Director, Nazma Akter, is a member of IndustriALL’s Women’s Committee. Awaj Foundation is member of regional networks such as APWLD, CARAM Asia and IWRAW Asia Pacific. We are also a civil society caucus member of the Fair Labor Association.