BRAC plans to initiate a country-wide ‘Safe Women Migration’ programme. BRAC’s future plan also includes intensive safe migration facilitation and advocacy initiatives at all 64 sub-districts to ensure migration-friendly environment as well as long-term benefits for migrant workers.
The goal of this programme is to ensure improved livelihood of Bangladeshi migrant workers and their family members through human rights promotion and protection.
• To ensure safe migration of Bangladeshi migrant workers through awareness building and education
• To reduce social vulnerabilities of migrants and their family members through increased access to essential information and services
• To facilitate socio-economic re-integration of returnee migrant workers
• To influence migration policy and procedures through advocacy, networking and media mobilisation
• To promote innovation and best practices for improving safe migration
Promoting safe migration through innovation
This publication is a collection of case studies and anecdotes documenting many of the innovations that have emerged from the project.
We hope the insights shared in this book provide an illustration of the many faces of migration and help encourage more innovations that can be replicated and scaled up to promote safe migration practices across Bangladesh.
Report on the baseline survey 2013 of the safe migration programme conducted by research and evaluation division (RED)
BRAC conducted a baseline survey under the safe migration facilitation project. As a starting point, the survey considered the project that will assist to measure the project outputs after its completion in 2007(clarify). The purpose of the survey was to find out problems of migrant workers as well as human rights with special emphasis on women’srights violations in the project working areas.
The survey’s major recommendations are as follows:
• Migration focused database should be developed in the project area
• Information centres should be established to disseminate information on opportunity, risks associated with migration, safe migration process and migration cost
• Awareness campaign should be arranged to promote positive aspects of female migration
• Alliance should be formed with concerned government institutions to collaboratively arrange activities to promote safe migration
Reducing the risks of migration: An evaluation of BRAC’s safe migration programme
University of California at Berkeley and BRAC’s research and evaluation division (RED) undertook a research titled ‘Reducing the risks of migration: An evaluation of BRAC’s safe migration programme.’
There are very few studies that assess the migrant’s risk of failure before departing from the country and after having eventually incurred significant expenses in attempting to migrate. But information associated to this aspect is very important to understand the causes behind failure of migration attempts and patterns of risks, to reduce the vulnerabilities of Bangladeshi migrant workers.
Report on the baseline survey 2013 of the safe migration programme by (RED) for SPA project
In 2013, BRAC RED and migration programme jointly undertook a baseline survey research. The objective of the research was to understand the contribution of SMFCs to improve safe migration scenario of the programme areas. It was also designed to contribute to an assessment of the impact of the SMP intervention, which will be completed after an endline survey.
The baseline survey included the following specific objectives:
• To evaluate the extent of the SMFC provision of information and facilities on migration to the target communities
• To assess and compare the knowledge and awareness of the safe migration process in the communities served by the SMFC with those not served
• To estimate the percentage of eligible beneficiaries receiving support from the SMFC
• To compare the knowledge, attitude and practices of migrants in the areas served by the SMFCs with that of the migrants in areas not served
‘Safe migration for Bangladeshi migrant workers’ project
UKaid and AusAID funded the ‘safe migration for Bangladeshi migrant workers’ project under the strategic partnership agreement (SPA). This project aims to raise awareness at the community level. The migration forums work as community pressure groups and also arrange social arbitration, taking necessary steps to extract the compensation for deceived migrants from the middlemen. Cases of forgery by recruiting agencies are forwarded by safe migration facilitation centres (SMFCs) to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET). Sub-district and union-level workshops are held to sensitise government officials to provide better support to migrants. Six SMFCs are providing safe migration-related, direct and referral support to migrant workers from 17 districts of Bangladesh.
Safe immigration for Bangladeshi Workers project
BRAC’s ‘safe migration for Bangladeshi workers’ project is funded by Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) and managed by World Bank. This project aims to reduce vulnerability of migrants and their family members, while reducing dependency on middlemen by establishing and strengthening community-based organisations (CBOs) and local NGOs. The project provides capacity building support to the CBOs and NGOs to provide knowledge, information, and professional/life skills to potential migrants. It also assists families of migrants in managing remittances.
Establishment of re-integration and referral services for returnee migrant workers
The establishment of ‘re-integration and referral services for returnee migrant workers’ project is funded by UN Women. The project’s aim is to promote and protect rights of returnee migrant workers, particularly women and vulnerable men. The project targets three districts of Bangladesh that are prone to have more women migrants. The project will establish actions for re-integration, referral services for activating provisions of re-integration, and referral services for vulnerable returnee migrants, especially women. Additionally, the project will develop networks and build the capacity of government, NGO and private sector groups in order to effectively and efficiently provide socio-economic re-integration support.
Safe migration facilitation centre project
BRAC started its intervention on protecting the rights of migrant workers since 2006. The first initiative started with the project named ‘safe migration facilitation centre’ supported by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF). The project was implemented from 2006 to 2011. The project’s main activities were the establishment of safe migration facilitation centres (SMFC)s, raising awareness in communities as well helping migrant workers with various skill enhancement training. One of the significant achievements of the project was to ensure the rehabilitation of returnee workers from Libya.
Advocacy for safe migration and abating labour trafficking
The Winrock International funded ‘advocacy for safe migration and abating labour trafficking’ project. The project was carried out from July 2010 till June 2011 with the objective of creating an enabling environment for safe labour migration by motivating stakeholders to reduce vulnerabilities present in migration processes. The community-level advocacy effort resulted in positive changes on anti-trafficking issues. This project’s continuous policy advocacy with other organisations was one of the main influencing factors for the Government of Bangladesh to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families on 24 August 2011.
ILO supported project for internal women migration
BRAC migration programme has implemented various steps to address violence against women (JP VAW) supported by International Labor Organization (ILO) in a three-phase project. In the first phase, the migration programme carried out awareness orientations for domestic workers. In the second phase, after successful workshop with stakeholders for message building and material development, a mass campaign was launched. In the third phase, a standardised information and advisory procedure on safe internal women migration was developed. This is expected to enable the targeted group to have adequate knowledge about job requirements, working conditions, rights at work as well as basic life skills. The information package was developed for internal women migrants working in four sectors - garments industries, construction sites, rice mills and domestic help.
SMFC - safe migration facilitation centre
BRAC’s safe migration facilitation centre started in 2006. It was established with the objective to increase the availability of migration-related support and services at the district level. The SMFCs facilitate migrant workers and their family members to claim their rights and become aware about the importance of safe migration. Currently 16 SMFCs are operating under BRAC’s migration programme. The SMFCs provide information, training and networking support to potential and returnee migrants on various migration-related issues.
The SMFCs provide services to migrants and their families in the following ways:
• Information dissemination in communities through courtyard meetings, pre-decision orientations, pre-departure orientations, arranging IPT shows, video shows, conducting school quiz etc
• Providing information on safe migration process documentation and facilitating migrants to follow the process at the centres
• Providing online visa checking support, free of cost
• Providing referrals for skills and language training for potential migrants
• Creating an enabling environment for support-seeking migrants by establishing linkage with DEMOs, District Probashi Kallyan Desk, Passport office, banks, various training centres, Recruiting agencies, medical check-up centres, employers and migration networks in destination countries
• Providing legal aid support to deceived migrants by facilitating process documentation of legal arbitration
• Providing counselling support to returnee migrant workers for social and family re-integration after return
• Providing rescue support to vulnerable migrant workers at destination countries
• Providing support for costs of transporting dead bodies from the government and for claiming death benefits for the family of deceased migrant workers
• Facilitating community-based voluntary migration forums and community migration volunteers
Migration community volunteers
BRAC’s migration programme developed a community-based volunteers’ pool through providing capacity development trainings and orientations on safe migration process. BRAC gives priority to returnee migrants and spouses of migrant workers during the volunteers’ selection.
Currently, BRAC has 1,417 trained migration volunteers; among them 309 are women and 1,108 are men.
Migration programme volunteer activities are as follows:
• Assist potential migrants in migration process documentation; ie, assistance with application forms, provide guidance with District Employment and Manpower Office (DEMO) registration and others
• Support BRAC to conduct behaviour change activity in communities; ie, arrange courtyard meetings, IPT shows, conduct interpersonal communications (IPC), disseminate information, education and communication (IEC), and behaviour change communications (BCC) materials
• Support migration programme communication workers (CW) and CBO facilitators to conduct mass awareness raising activities in communities
• Assist in social arbitration for money recovery on behalf of deceived migrants
• Create database of potential and returnee migrant workers at respective communities
Government and other civil society organisations support mechanisms are still not sufficient at the local level to address the issue of migrant workers at the community level. Migrant workers often fall victim to deceitful middlemen who are likely to be someone from the community. In this given context there is no other option but the migration forum’s intervention to provide information support to the migrants.
BRAC is facilitating the formation of migration forum since 2007. These forums are formed and operated voluntarily by the community people. Also included are successful returnee migrants and those deceived during the course of their migration. Since the migration forum is formed and maintained by communities themselves, their acceptability and reliability in the community is high.
BRAC has 466 active migration forums currently in 252 upazilas under 42 districts.
Migration forums provide the following supports:
• Arrange migration forum and urgent issue-based meetings regularly and maintain resolutions
• Facilitate social arbitration in the community for deceived migrant workers to recover money from the middlemen
• Maintain referral linkage and networking with migration services providing institutions and duty bearers
• Disseminate IEC materials among migrants and their families
• Create scope of work at the community level for migration programme
Language barrier is one of the main causes of the obstacles Bangladeshi migrants face. Lack of proficiency in the national language of the destination country is a major roadblock. Recognising the urgency of enhancing language skills BRAC initiated community-based language club with the support from returnee migrants, teachers of government technical training centres (TTC) and community people. The a three-month-long training course is designed to teach beginner level proficiency in the language of the destination country . The languages that are taught currently at the club are Arabic, Malaysian and English. BRAC aims to add many more languages to this list.
Interactive popular theatre (IPT)
Interactive popular theatre (IPT) is a very popular and well-accepted form of entertainment in rural communities of Bangladesh. Due to mass acceptance, BRAC is uses this platform to influence positive change in a community’s practice involving migration.
BRAC’s IPT operates under BRAC’s community empowerment programme (CEP). BRAC’s migration programme usesthe platform to disseminate information on safe migration and raise awareness on its importance. The IPT team conducts area studies to collect local incidents and facts on migration. After the study, they produce IPT’s story based on local incidents. The title of the IPT show is Shapno Dekhi Bidesh Jabo (Towards a Dream) is based on a real story.
Currently, 54 IPT teams are raising awareness and disseminating safe migration information in migration-prone districts of Bangladesh.
Pala song and jarigaan (folk songs)
Pala songs and jarigaan are two different popular types of folk songs among rural communities in certain areas of Bangladesh. BRAC’s migration programme disseminates safe migration information and raise awareness on its importance through pala song and jarigaan.
Instead of IPT shows, pala songs and jarigaan are performed at urban slum areas. IPT shows demand open space and proper set-up to stage a popular theatre. But usually in slum areas there are little or no room for this kind of activity.
Audio-visual is an effective way to reach mass audience. The video shows help the communities understand and relate to the stories that had actually occurred in their communites.
BRAC screens video shows at the community level in migration prone districts to raise awareness on safe migration issues and promote safe migration . Shapno Dekhi Bidesh Jabo (Towards a Dream) is one of the films produced by the JSDF project of migration programme. In addition, BRAC’s migration programme included Shapno and jatra (folk theatre)produced by RMMRU on safe migration.
Education and skills development
The migration programme aims to inform and mobilise the broader community to support migrant workers and improve awareness of migration issues by disseminating appropriate information. The programme raises awareness on the risks ofrelying on middlemen and seeking information from unauthorised alternatives.
The programme provides pre-decision training for potential migrants that enable them to analyse social and economic costs and benefits of migration as well as other information needed to make an informed decision. Potential migrants are linked with pre-employment skill development training for better employment and higher wages in destination countries. Migrants and their families are also provided with orientation, access to information and referrals to affordable financial instruments to help cover the upfront costs of migration, including the provision for training, services, information and hands on experience for improved management and use of remittance. Therefore, the main objective of this programme is disseminating in-depth information on how to follow the migration process safely.
Beside this, the programme offers referral linkages to provide skill enhancement training at the government Technical Training Centers (TTCs) and other private training centres with the goal to make migrants eligible for better wages as skilled workers.
The programme will soon offer a pre-departure orientation event which will prepare migrants in the days prior to the departure by outlining the challenges faced at the point of departure from Bangladesh, upon arrival in the host country and during the course of their stay abroad. Training will be module-based covering essential information for getting through airports, including immigration and customs procedures. It will cover cultural, social and legal aspects of the destination country, migrants’ and human rights, health and personal security. Migrants will receive practical information about travel to the host country, who to contact if they encounter difficulties while abroad, knowledge of their rights and issues to consider before returning home, such as health, financial or travel-related information. Outbound female migrants will also receive additional life skills training geared towards specific issues women migrants may face.
Skill training referral
BRAC’s migration programme is providing skill training referral service since 2006. BRAC helps potential migrant workers to find the right trade of skill training based on the kinds of work they are going to do in the destination countries. BRAC liaises with government Technical Training Centre (TTC) to facilitate this support. Until now 136 potential migrants have been referred for skill training to different TTC in Bangladesh.
Income-generating activity (IGA)
BRAC plans to select returnee migrants and orient them on various IGAs to integrate into sustainable livelihood options. BRAC’s microfinance programme provide short-term and mid-term micro-credit in the form of migration loans to selected potential and returnee migrants. The IGA orientation trainings will be followed by IGA counselling and technical support.
Small and medium enterprise (SME)
BRAC plans to facilitate community-based entrepreneurship and improve capacity of SMEs. To achieve this, BRAC plans to facilitate SME implementation through migration forum, CBOs, local NGOs, and community including migrants and migrants’ families. BRAC will bring together migration stakeholders, experts and link them with selected returnee migrants and their families to facilitate SMEs. The financial management training will encompass business financial accounting, profit-loss management accounting and cash flow management. BRAC will also facilitate the SME for their legal registration. The supports required for SME forward and backward linkage will also be part of the intervention.
Life skill education
Women migrant workers who have received pre-decision orientation and have been selected for the skills training will be provided with life skill training from the community as it is essential for their nature of work of being in confinement as a women domestic aid. They will also be provided with health awareness training as well as essential information to reduce vulnerabilities in the workplace.
BRAC’s migration programme facilitates social arbitration at community level to recover money from the middlemen. The social arbitration usually happens when the deceived migrant worker and the middleman who cheated the migrant are from the same locality.
BRAC’s migration forum, community volunteers and SMFCs facilitate this social arbitration by involving local influential people.
Since April 2012 to June 2014, BRAC supported 53 male and seven female migrant workers to recover lost money from middlemen.
BRAC is facilitating migrant workers for legal aid since the programme’s inception. It also facilitates legal aid support for migrant workers by collaborating with District Employment and Manpower Offices (DEMO) and Bureau of Manpower, Employment, Employment and Training (BMET).
Usually if a case is not solved with social arbitration, then BRAC provides support for legal aid process. BRAC provides legal aid support to the migrant workers through the following channels and methods
• BRAC HRLS panel lawyers
• file case at the court through SMFC
• file complain at the BMET through DEMO
• Follow up by Dhaka SMFC if the case processing is delayed
From April 2012 to June 2014, with BRAC’s support, BDT 853, 000 was recovered from recruiting agencies thorough BMET. BRAC provided support to recover BDT 365, 000 from recruiting agencies through court and police stations. BRAC also supported the recovery of BDT 661,000 through its human rights and legal aid services (HRLS) programme.
Rescue support for migrant workers
BRAC provides rescue support to families at home to rescue their family members (migrant worker undergoing extreme conditions) and help them come back to Bangladesh.
Death benefit claiming process support
BRAC helps migrant families to receive dead body transportation cost, which is provided by the Bangladeshi government. BRAC also supports migrant workers’ families with the death benefit claiming process.
From April 2012 to June 2014 BRAC helped 15 migrant workers’ families to claim and receive death benefit. The total amount of death benefits received by migrant workers families amounted to a total of BDT 1,970,000.
BRAC Migration programme plans to undertake a communication campaign titled, ‘It’s time for raising voice for migrants and their family members’ rights, 2014.’ The campaign will engage with migrant workers and their family members through direct interviews and facilitate them to get their voices heard by multi-level stakeholders like service providers, migration rights organisations and policy makers.
The objective of the campaign is to caution migration service providers and policy makers of Bangladesh to be more sensitive towards protecting migrant workers and their family members’ rights.
• Help migrant workers raise their voices to claim their rights through community pressure groups
• Facilitate civil society movement at national and district level to strengthen migrant’s demands to protect their rights
• Reinforce government for regional and global level negotiation for migrants rights and networking for migration promotion from Bangladesh
BRAC’s intervention for migrant workers
BRAC practices a three-tiered intervention model to ensure safe migration
BRAC raises awareness on safe migration process at the pre-migration stage. The programme facilitates formation of migration forums at grassroots levels, formed of returnee migrants, teachers, volunteers and active and interested members of the community. Migration forums also help to get support on social arbitration and legal aid for migrants in collaboration with BRAC. The programme helps migrants understand the necessity of documented and legal migration and the adverse effects of undocumented and illegal migration. The programme also provides information and referral services for migration loan, training on skills and language, and assistance with visa applications. In addition, the programme provides pre-decision orientation to potential migrants and pre-departure orientation to departing migrants. The programme liaises with BRAC’s other programmes to provide an integrated support to the migrants.
b) During migration
BRAC liaises with relevant ministries to influence relevant Bangladeshi missions abroad for welfare support of migrants during the migration period. BRAC networks with international migrants’ rights-based organisation to provide support for migrants. BRAC also helps rescue migrants to return home safely with the support of the Government of Bangladesh and other international agencies. BRAC developed peer education activities in migrant communities at selected destination countries.
c) Return and re-integration
BRAC’s migration programme works to create an enabling environment and facilitates socio-economic re-integration of migrant workers, their families and returnee migrants. Support groups, forums and volunteers at community levels help returnee migrants and their families through peer counselling. BRAC also facilitates returnee migrants in utilising skills to establish income-generating activities (IGA) and small and medium enterprises (SME). The re-integration component of BRAC finds stronger focus on women and vulnerable migrants.
Celebration of International Migrants Day
On 18 December 1990, the General Assembly adopted the international convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families.
Since 2008 BRAC’s migration programme has been collaborating with the government of Bangladesh in observing the International Migrants Day (IMD). Some of the activities organised by BRAC in collaboration with the government are as follows:
• Actively participate in the government IMD observation preparatory committee and support government to conduct the nation-wide day of observance successfully
• Facilitate IMD seminars
• Observe IMD at 64 districts and assist government with their local initiatives
• Actively participate at the national-level IMD fair with stall demonstrations, arranging discussions where migrants can participate, , and organising rallies with banners and festoons etc.
2006 Safe Migration Facilitation Centre (SMFC) established
2006 First phase of ‘safe migration facilitation centre project’ (SMFC) funded by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), started
2009 Second phase of ‘safe migration facilitation centre ’ (SMFC) project, funded by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) started
2010 The project, ‘advocacy for safe migration and abating labor trafficking’ funded by Win Rock International started
2011 The project, ‘spreading awareness to prevent, promote and protect domestic workers and female migration’ funded by International Labour Organization (ILO) started
2011 The project, ‘livelihood restoration of Bangladeshi migrant workers returning from Libya’ funded by BRAC Bank Limited (BBL) started
2012 The project ‘safe migration for Bangladeshi migrant workers’ funded under the strategic partnership agreement (SPA) of DFID, AusAID and BRAC started ; to be continued till 2016
2012 The project, ‘standardised information and Advisory Procedures on Safe Migration funded by International Labour Organization (ILO) started
2013 The project, ‘organising awareness raising sessions for female migrants’ funded by International Labour Organization (ILO) started
2013 The project piloting administrative set-up for utilisation of the developed ‘Standardised information and advisory procedure on safe internal women migration’ info pack funded by International Labour Organization (ILO) started
2013 The project ‘safe migration for Bangladeshi worker’ funded by Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) and managed by World Bank started; to be continued till 2017
2013 The project ‘safe migration’ under BRAC’s integrated development programme (IDP) at Baniachong and Derai started; to be continued till 2015
2013 Migration volunteers resource pool developed
2014 Selection of 80 community-based organisations (CBO) for partnership
2014 The project ‘establishment of re-integration and referral services for returnee migrant workers’ started
BRAC’s migration programme is working to establish a platform where all migrant organisations (NGOs, CBOs, and migration forums) will be working actively to protect the rights of migrant workers from grassroots to regional level. At the grassroots level, the programme has developed partnership with 80 CBOs and local NGOs. At the national level, the National Alliance for Migrants Rights in Bangladesh (NAMR, B), a network comprising of various NGOs is coordinating the advocacy initiatives from community to national level to international level. Regionally, the migration programme is an active member of CARAM Asia, addressing migration-related issues at destination countries.
Major advocacy activities of BRAC Migration Programme
National consultation to protect migrant rights at GCC countries
BRAC’s migration programme supports national consultation on ‘Kafala violating migrant rights: Can FIFA help to abolish?’. The consultation was arranged by National Alliance for Migrants’ Rights Bangladesh (NAMR, B) with the support of BRAC. The consultation targeted to advocate for the protection of migrant workers through FIFA as Qatar is the host for FIFA World Cup 2022. Mr Kazi Abul Kalam, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment and Mr Md Golam Mustafa Khan, Joint Secretary, BMET were also present at the meeting. A cross-section of people including government, academics, journalists, lawyers, rights and development activists as well as members of national and international organisations was present at this consultation.
National consultation on ‘Significance of Remittance: Poverty Alleviation and Livelihood Development in Bangladesh’
A consultation on ‘Significance of Remittance: Poverty Alleviation and Livelihood Development in Bangladesh’ was arranged by BRAC’s migration programme on 20 June 2013 at BRAC Centre Inn, Dhaka. Practitioners, academics, economists, researchers, government officials, service providers, media and activists were present at the consultation.
The participants discussed about the importance of remittance in the country’s economy and development and also the importance of developing proper policies to manage the migration and remittance flow and how to maximise the use of remittance to tackle poverty, and create alternative livelihood options.
Press conference for reviewing Greece shooting verdict
Shocked by the news of Greece court verdict, National Alliance for Migrants’ Rights, Bangladesh (NAMR, B) demanded Greece shooting verdict should be reviewed justifiably. To gain attention from the Government of The People’s Republic of Bangladesh, this network conducted a press conference at National Press Conference on 6 August 2014.
Demands of NAMR, B
National Alliance for Migrant Rights, Bangladesh (NAMR,B) strongly demands the following issues to the Government of Greece
• Impartial review of the verdict by the Greek Supreme Court and ensuring justice for affected workers of Manodala, Greece
• Appropriately compensate the affected migrant workers and help them to get adequate legal representation
• Ratify the 1990 convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families
Seminar on re-integration of returnee migrant workers: Opportunities and challenges
BRAC demanded a new re-integration policy and database for returnee Bangladeshi migrants at a seminar on ‘Reintegration of the returnee migrant workers: Opportunities and challenges’ organised by BRAC in association with OKUP and WARBE DF at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) on 18 December 2014.
Mr Hassan Imam, Programme Head, Migration Programme, BRAC in his presentation recommended a separate re-integration policy and strategy. He also pointed out the importance of re-integration. He suggested an independent returnee database for returnee migrants.
Speaking as the chief guest , Engineer Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, MP, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment acknowledged that re-integration is the most important aspect of migration management and government will consider this issue. He appreciated the organisers and stated that, this is first time he is hearing about re-integration issue during his six years tenure as a minister of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment.
Mr Khandakar Md Iftekhar Haider, Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, highlighted the needs for initiatives to protect the rights of the returnee migrants.
Highlighting the need for re-integration policy and a new database for returnee migrants, Ms Sheepa Hafiza, Director, Gender Justice and Diversity and Migration Programme, BRAC urged for collective initiatives for social and economic re-integration.
Among others, Ms Saheen Anam, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Mr Shakirul Islam ,Chairman, Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Programme ,OKUP and Mr Faruque Ahmed, WARBE DF, participated in the discussion. The programme was presided over by Begum Shamsun Nahar, Director General, Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET).
National Alliance for Migrants’ Rights, Bangladesh (NAMR, B)
National Alliance for Migrants’ Rights Bangladesh (NAMR, B) was formed in 2010. The alliance was incepted with the aim to protect rights of the Bangladeshi migrant workers and their families. NAMR, B is a niche for Bangladeshi civil society organisations.
All partners of this network provide their best effort to support Bangladeshi migrant workers. They work as a pressure group to alleviate long-term crises immediately. The main concern of the network is to empower migrants with proper information and services. It influences responsible parties and provide them with technical support for their efficiency. Beside this, NAMR, B maintains strong ties with the media to continually circulate appropriate coverage of issues related to migrant workers on the basis of its urgency.
Current allies of the alliance are BRAC, Bastob Bangladesh, BOMSA, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, INAFI Bangladesh, OKKAF, Ain o Shalish Kendra (ASK), SHISUK Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) and CARE Bangladesh. The current secretariat of the alliance is BRAC.
Regional networking on migration
CARAM Asia – Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility
CARAM Asia – Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility - is a regional network working on migration and health issues. It was formed in 1997. Over time, it has developed as a network of members spread across south-east Asia, north-east Asia, the Gulf and Middle East. CARAM Asia’s mission is to empower migrants, their families and communities throughout the migration process and build capacities of CBOs (community-based organisations) and NGOs , and to work for the promotion and protection of migrants’ health rights, including sexual and reproductive health rights. CARAM Asia focuses on three main aspects:
CARAM Asia took the approach of PAR (participatory action research) to develop research, publications, campaigns and policies.
BRAC partnered with CARAM Asia in May 2013. The networking helps members to influence labour receiving countries with policy formulation and implementation with the aim to uphold rights of migrant workers. BRAC is also looking forward to provide better support for Bangladeshi migrants at destination countries through this networking. , since there are 40 member NGOs from 20 countries with CARAM Asia who works on migration, human rights, health and HIV/ AIDS.
Partnerships and collaborations
Community-based organisation (CBO)
Dependency on middlemen is a long-standing practice of migrant workers across Bangladesh. Sustainable initiatives are essential to reduce this dependency and exploitation by middlemen. Experience has shown that developing community forums work as an effective tool for providing information on migration issues.
BRAC has selected community-based organisations (CBO) to strengthen their capacity in order to reduce dependency of migrants on middlemen. The CBOs will enhance social protection for potential migrants and their family members. They will enable safe migration facilitation centres (SMFCs) to support safe migration and disseminate necessary information about migrant rights from the duty bearers.
Currently BRAC has 80 selected CBOs as implementing partners in migration-prone districts of Bangladesh.
Project steering Ccmmittee (PSC)
Migration Programme, BRAC formed a project steering committee (PSC) to ensure safe migration for Bangladeshi workers project. The project is funded by Japan Social Development Fund and managed by World Bank. The PSC consisting of representatives from Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas, Employment , BMET, BRAC, partner NGOs and CBOs.
All members of the PSC meet periodically to review project updates and provide necessary guidance to project management.
BRAC’s migration programme is working to ensure the rights of migrants by providing an easy access to services that help them avoid exploitation as Bangladeshi migrants. Some of the underlying causes are limited access to information, inadequate services from government and non-government agencies at all levels, and lack of proactive policymaking and implementation. BRAC’s migration programme started in 2006 in 17 Upazilas with a pilot of safe migration advocacy and service facilitation programme. Now it has expanded its operation in 124 Upazilas with a goal to ensure safe migration of Bangladeshi migrant workers. Safe migration is an important issue in current context of Bangladesh and it is a vital part of BRAC’s overall strategy.