UP! is a community-based training program that aims to empower and improve the lives of workers in the RMG sector of Bangladesh. It provides workers with trainings on a range of issues such as financial management, health, leadership, rights awareness, negotiation and advanced negotiation. The project specifically focuses on women workers as levers of change in the factories, their communities and the RMG sector as a whole.
To date, UP! has provided trainings to over 15,000 workers. Improvements in workers’ lives, communities and workplaces as a result of participation in UP! include:
- Increased savings through bank accounts
- Improvements in bargaining power at home and at work
- Improved awareness of health, nutrition and healthier lifestyles
- Greater participation of workers (especially women) in improving working conditions, including greater presence of UP! graduates in committees, forums and unions available to them
- Significant improvements in working conditions within individual factories and across the sector
In addition, 35 women worker leaders were selected to be part of an RMG Worker’s Forum. These workers will be trained on computer literacy, paralegalism, communication and other soft skills in the next phase of UP! so that they can become national level advocates for improving working conditions in the RMG sector.
The next 4-year phase of UP! will begin in January, 2019. This phase will build on the successes of the previous phases. An additional 6,500 workers will be included in the UP! project in this phase. Community outreach and dialogue and training of factory management will be added to project activities in order to create a conducive environment in which women can come forward and take up leadership.