Swisscontact's Sarathi Project and Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) Collaborate to Empower RMG Workers Financially 

Upskilling and Reskilling
Swisscontact coins partnership with Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) to encourage RMG workers to increase income through more secure means of saving

Sarathi - Improving Financial Health’, the flagship financial inclusion project of Swisscontact Bangladesh, focuses on improving the financial health of low-income industrial workers, especially ready-made garment (RMG) workers. According to a baseline survey conducted by Sarathi, a staggering 88% of RMG workers have no savings, while the remaining 12% save informally. With the rising cost of living, initiatives such as these underline the significant potential for RMG workers to benefit from formal financial savings schemes.

To address this, Swisscontact's Sarathi project and Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in January 2023 to facilitate formal savings for RMG workers and low-income community members in the RMG clusters of Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj, and Chattogram. The partnership is focused on enhancing financial literacy and promoting formal savings habits through awareness-building campaigns and booths through its agent banking channel.

This collaboration between Swisscontact and DBBL holds the potential to continue this scalable program that empowers RMG workers and their community members with access to interconnected financial health solutions, ultimately increasing their savings and income in more secure ways. The project will keep contributing to building a financially inclusive society and driving economic growth in Bangladesh.

‘Sarathi – Improving Financial Health’ is financed by the MetLife Foundation and the Happel Foundation. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA.

Upskilling and Reskilling
Sarathi – Progress Through Improved Financial Health
Bangladesh is the world’s second largest garment exporter, with the ready-made garment (RMG) sector accounting for over 83% of the country’s exports and contributing approximately 16% to the GDP. This industry encompasses more than 4 000 RMG factories and provides employment to approximately 4.2 million workers of which almost 60% are women. Even though the RMG sector plays a pivotal role in Bangladesh’s economy, only 34% of it was integrated into the formal financial system when Swisscontact started to work towards the financial inclusion of RMG workers and their community members in 2016.