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What financial inclusion obstacle are we supporting low-income people to navigate? What financial capability are we attempting to enable or develop? What – gives you access to MFO’s select publications organized around the content of a financial education curriculum or training manual. You can also gain access to the full set of Global Financial Education Program materials here.

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Resilience and Account Ownership

This past week’s Garment Worker Diaries blog was the second in a series of blogs on economic resilience. It focuses on the relationship between resilience and the ownership of a digital financial account. It is based on analysis we conducted on the relationship between resilience and account ownership and suggests that the latter can improve the former—workers in the RMG sector who had an account prior to April 2020 were better able to bounce back from the crisis they experienced in April than other workers.

This result holds after taking into account the income, other cash flows, and important characteristics of the workers. The blog ends with some suggestions about why this might be the case drawing on a paper by Breza, Kanz, and Klapper. Next week’s blog will explore more deeply the connection between account ownership and resilience.

We hope you’ll check out the full blog, and if you have any questions for us or the workers, please write to questions@workerdiaries.org


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Worker Economic Resilience

In this week’s Garment Worker Diaries blog, which will be the first in a series of blogs on the same theme, we begin a discussion about an idea central to this most recent phase of the GWD initiative, which is economic resiliency.

When we speak about resiliency, we mean the ability to avoid, withstand, and bounce back from economic stress. When we speak about the economic resiliency of workers in this context, we mean to ask how well were garment workers in Bangladesh able to cope with the impact of COVID-19 over the past year.

Because we began tracking their resiliency almost immediately when the pandemic began, we are able to have a relatively well informed conversation on how well workers have fared.

Over the next few weeks we will dig deeper into degrees of economic resiliency to find out whether or not certain attributes, such as digital account ownership, gave workers a better shot at enduring what has been a very tough time.

We hope you’ll check out the full blog, and if you have any questions for us or the workers, please write to questions@workerdiaries.org


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Brand-Facing and Non-Brand Facing Factory Comparisons

In last week’s Garment Worker Diaries blog we promised further analysis of the types of factories in our study sample in Bangladesh. This week, we share that analysis with you by comparing brand-facing and non-brand facing factories.

The catalyst for performing this analysis was to see whether workers at two different types of factories in our study were faring as well as each other in terms of work hours, wages, health, and other metrics. We’ve defined elsewhere what brand-facing means, and we define it again for you in the blog.

What we discovered is that there are some statistically significant differences between what workers at each type of factory are telling us. We can’t yet be certain if the key difference is whether or not brands have a public, transparent relationship with one type of factory over another. But, that could certainly play a part.

We hope you’ll check out the full blog, and if you have any questions for us or the workers, please write to questions@workerdiaries.org


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Garment Worker Diaries January 2021 Update

This week’s Garment Worker Diaries blog updates the project through the end of January 2021. In January, garment workers in Bangladesh worked more hours and made more money than in any other month since the COVID-19 pandemic began. And, these numbers largely track with the numbers we were seeing during this same time in 2019 and into 2020.

We realize this could imply that everything is going great for garment workers…we aren’t implying that. What we are saying is that the workers in our representative sample are as employed and earning as much money as they normally would. No one disputes that “as usual” is very far from ideal on a number of metrics (work hours, pay, illness, food insecurity, educational spending for children, and housing to name a few things we track).

Next week we are going to do our due diligence and zoom in on the factories in our study sample to see if there is any distinction in employment resiliency between those factories that are brand-facing and those that aren’t (we define brand-facing in this week’s blog). This will hopefully inform the current discussion about whether it is just “Tier 1” factories (think: larger with more money) that are managing to stay afloat compared to “Tier 2” and “Tier 3” factories (think: smaller with less money). It could be the case that workers in Tier 2 and 3 factories are not experiencing life as usual, and if that’s the case we need to find out.

We also hope you’ll check out our most recent #OpenDiaries post on Instagram. We asked garment workers what job benefits they wish they could demand, and how many of them have health insurance. And remember, you can always submit your own questions you’d like us to ask the workers. Just send an email to questions@workerdiaries.org to reach the workers.


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Educational Aspirations Part Two: Garment Workers’ Educations

Last week in our Garment Worker Diaries blog series we discussed how far parents working in the RMG sector would like to see their children’s education progress, and what types of barriers their children might face climbing the education ladder.

In Part 2 of our Educational Aspirations blog this week, we discuss the workers’ educational ambitions for themselves. Many garment workers (20%) would still like to continue their education all the way on to university, despite the fact that 82% of them don’t have a secondary school certificate. The possible barriers they think they might face on this journey are somewhat different to the perceived barriers their children might face, but the need for additional income and the cost of school still appear to be two of the bigger roadblocks.

We also hope you’ll check out our most recent #OpenDiaries post on Instagram. We asked garment workers what job benefits they wish they could demand, and how many of them have health insurance. And remember, you can always submit your own questions you’d like us to ask the workers. Just send an email to questions@workerdiaries.org to reach the workers.


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