After the collapse of the Rana Plaza building complex in 2013, GIZ supported the emergency response through setting up the Rana Plaza Coordination Cell in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in order to promote social and environmental standards in the Ready Made Garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh. With the objective to create more sustainable possibilities for bringing persons with disabilities into employment, EPOS advised on how to strengthen inclusive skills development and how to improve the accessibility to the RMG sector enterprises by developing a strategy for setting up an Inclusive Job Centre (IJC) supporting persons with disabilities and stakeholders.
The consultancy involved a desk review of documents, fieldwork and interviews of partner organisations in Bangladesh, such as ILO, selected NGOs, training institutions and factories, leading to a mapping of actors/stakeholders for Inclusive Skills Training and Inclusive Employment in the RMG Sector in Bangladesh. Core services for inclusive skills development, training and employment for persons with disabilities were assessed and prioritised, ranging from safety net schemes, referral systems for specific needs of persons with disabilities (e.g. assistive devices, reasonable workplace adjustments, tax benefits for factories).
A concept for the IJC design and setup was developed to serve as a Model for Excellence of a Resource Centre that would offer information and advisory services for persons with disabilities and potential employers, such as factory management and public and private service providers. A budget was provided and an implementation plan proposed. All relevant stakeholders were brought together to agree on the steps forward, being representatives of the Government, of GIZ and development partners, of Disabled Persons Organisations (DPO), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), and of the private sector.
The IJC shall function as a hub between workers with disabilities and private factory owners, tapping on existing service providers to match a worker with a factory and facilitating legal and other information on how to employ persons with disabilities. An important success factor will be to apply a rights-based approach where national laws demand employers to hire persons with disabilities. Bangladesh, as a ratifying country of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRD) will need to review its national laws and regulations in order to make them conform to this convention.