On 26 December 2018, Swisscontact’s B-SkillFUL project and United Commercial Bank (UCB) signed an MoU whereby the beneficiaries of the project can avail mobile banking services through Ucash. B-SkillFUL provides allowances to its beneficiaries to cover their travel cost so that they attend classes regularly as many of them reside quite far from training institutes. The project aims to disburse these allowances via mobile financial services of UCB, Ucash. This pioneering initiative increases the likelihood of the poor and disadvantaged beneficiaries to become a part of mainstream financial services through mobile banking. In addition, this partnership created an avenue for the private sector towards creating financial linkages for beneficiaries of skills development project.
In his keynote speech, the Country Director of Swisscontact Bangladesh, Anirban Bhowmik, explained the vision of Swisscontact and elaborated the objectives of the B-SkillFUL project. Executive Vice President & Company Secretary of UCB Mr. ATM Tahmiduzzaman explained the significance of this partnership and how it offers financial services to the people who are beyond mainstream banking services at this moment. In the future, the partnership can explore new ventures to promote financial services for enterprise development in similar projects. Team Leader of B-SkillFUL project, Md. Matiur Rahaman and ATM Tahmiduzzaman signed the MoU on behalf of both the organisations.
Other attendees from B-SkillFUL project, Md. Makbul Hossain, Senior Manager-Training Operations, Md. Nazmul Avi Hossain, Manager-Private Sector Engagement (Training & Employment) and Ms. Musharrat Mahera, Coordinator-Communications were present. From UCB the participants were Mr Arif Quadri, Additional Managing Director, Md. Sohrab Mustafa, Deputy Managing Director, Nabil Mustafizur Rahman, Deputy Managing Director, N. Mustafa Tarek, Deputy Managing Director, Md. Abdullah Al Mamoon, Deputy Managing Director, Mohammad Iqbal Hossain, Sr. Executive Vice President, S.M. Wahid Ferdous, Assistant Vice President and Md. Mamunur Rashid, Sr. Officer.
B-SkillFUL (Building Skills for Unemployed and Underemployed Labour) is Swisscontact’s flagship skills development project which works in 6 districts of Bangladesh. Launched in 2015, the 4-year long project is jointly funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the European Union (EU). The project aims to improve the lives of 40,000 poor and disadvantaged men and women by providing them demand driven skills. This gives them access to the labour market and enhances their income leading to improved well-being. The project further supports 3,500 informal sector enterprises to improve their Labour Rights and Decent Work (LRDW) conditions.