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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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Announcing a New Partnership with Primark

MFO and South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) are pleased to announce a new partnership with the international retailer Primark, that aims to strengthen the voice of garment workers throughout the company’s supply chain, in Bangladesh.

Primark is seeking to better understand the views, perspectives and workplace experiences of workers in a number of the company’s suppliers’ factories. Although the project will use MFO and SANEM’s “Garment Worker Diaries” (GWD) financial diaries methodology, whereby workers respond to a series of questions asked repeatedly over a defined period of time, this collaboration is separate to GWD and will use its own set of questions, a separate sample group, and a new and unique field team. By the completion of the project, Primark will have clearer, deeper, and direct knowledge of how workers feel and think about such topics as health and safety at the workplace, wages and bonuses, and retrenchment. The project will engage with 400 workers across various factories who will be recruited via community networks and who will be paid for their time. Finally, while the data from this project will not be made public, the project is rooted in our commitment to give voice and provide greater visibility to those who make our clothes.

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Factory Blogging: Two New Blogs from the Garment Worker Diaries

Garment-producing factories in Bangladesh are the unit of analysis in this week’s Garment Worker Diaries blogs. And yes, that’s correct, we’re publishing two blogs this week, in part to make up for taking a blogging holiday this week past.

We use factories as the unit of analysis less often and with great caution. One of the reasons we take such care analyzing factory-specific data is that factory names are notoriously difficult to verify. To that end, we’re publishing “What We Can Learn From Bangladeshi Factory Names“, written by our guest blogger Jonah Tauber who interned with us over the Summer. We hope that his blog will be able to accurately demonstrate for you some of the elemental frustration trying to standardize factory names creates!

In our second blog, we take a look at the evolution of digital pay within factories. Analyzing six months of data from April to September has yielded some interesting trends and possible correlations. As many factories begin reverting to cash wage payments since their unprecedented adoption of digital wage payments, it will be important to ask why this digital evolution was not longer-lived.

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October Surprise: Everything is (almost) Back to Normal for Garment Workers in Bangladesh

In MFO’s most recent blog post at MFO and SANEM bring the Garment Worker Diaries study up to date in Bangladesh for a full seven months from April through October. What we are finding is that for most garment workers life and work is continuing its slow return to pre-COVID times.

One thing this means is that cash payments (whether factory wages or financial transactions among workers) are regaining territory that digital payments had carved out in the wake of the pandemic. Worker illness, injury and food insecurity are also trending down in October. Most workers are paying their rent on time.

In an effort to understand even more how COVID-19 is affecting workers and what they know about, this month we began asking workers COVID-specific questions, which we’ll continue asking from now on. You can find the workers’ responses to our questions near the end of this week’s blog.

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Cash or Bytes? Garment Workers’ Payment Preferences

In MFO’s most recent blog post at MFO and SANEM share garment workers’ payment preferences within the context of receiving either cash or digital wage payments. Over the past eight months, the majority of garment workers in Bangladesh have been given their first-ever opportunity to experience receiving digital wages due to logistical payment challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Over that timeframe, garment workers’ attitudes towards digital and cash payments have been changing, as as the implications for receiving either a cash or a digital payment extend beyond simply cash-in-hand or electronic account deposit concerns. Take a look at the full blog to see where these garment workers are at in their digital journey.

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Answers from Stakeholders in the Bangladesh RMG Sector

In MFO’s previous blog post at we suggested that data coming out of Bangladesh from interviews with garment workers raised some important questions for RMG sector stakeholders on such topics as job security in 2021, the future of digital wages, food security, illness, and the cost of credit. In our recently aired webinar MFO and SANEM gave stakeholders the opportunity to answer these questions.

This week’s blog summarizes those answers provided in the webinar. If you’d like to dig deeper you can download MFO’s full presentation from the webinar. Whether or not you watch the whole webinar, digest the full presentation, or read the distilled notes in the blog, we hope that you’ll come away with a better sense of what’s going on in the Bangladesh garment sector within this very particular COVID context.

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