Bangladesh Business and Disability network (BBDN) has organized a workshop titled “Taking forward BBDN” at Hotel AmariDhaka on 29thMay, 2019 with the participation of valued BBDNmembers, stakeholders and development partners. In addition to BBDN members, Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPO’s), National and international development partners, Government Agencies and Embassies participated to add value to the workshop and create stimulating discussions.
The purpose of the workshop was to reflect on BBDN’s journey from inception till date, identify and discuss learnings, successes and challenges while simultaneously generating ideas for the way forward and identify opportunities that will enable BBDN to advance its activities and long-term objectives in a sustainable and strategic manner.
The workshop was organized under ILO B-SEP project, with funding from Government of Canada, with close support of Bangladesh Employers’ Federation.
After the first session reflecting on the journey of BBDN, CRP one of BBDN’s valuedResource Members, presentedstudy findingson tracking persons with disabilities employed in industries through last four job fairs organized by BBDN in Dhaka, Chattogram and Sylhet.
The summary of the open floor discussion arenoted below-
- Employers require a common up to-date/ holistic database of the candidates, so they can hire people as required throughout the year.
- Well organized database also required to track and follow-up people with disabilities placed in jobs through post-placement follow up.
- There was a reasonable number of drop-outs, which was to be expected. It was further shared that many jobs were provided in RMG (Ready Made Garments) which tends to have a high worker migration rate to begin with. Further initiatives are needed to address this issue.
- However the sample size of the study was very limited with only 72 people followed (20% of the total population).
- In some cases, employers are still confined to a welfare or charitable approach to recruiting the persons with disabilities. At the same time, many good practices and true business case has also been created in the context. This needs to be documented in a compelling format for wider dissemination and consideration.
Following the open floor discussion, the participants were put in 5 groups to discuss specific areasof intervention for BBDN and also explore the sustainable strategy for implementation of existing and future programs divided into five groups. When group work completed, a representative from each group has presented their group ideas with others.
At the end of the program, respected Chairman of BBDN, Mr. Salahuddin Kasem Khan gave his valuable speech where he highlighted the situation for employability of people with disabilities. He emphasized that considering the size of the disabled population, the national budget allocation for this sector’s development is still quite low compared toother countries.
Professor Md. Golam Rabbani, chairman NDDP Trust (Neuro Developmental Disabilities Protection Trust) has said, people with neuro-developmental disabilities are the most marginalized among other types of disability.As such people with neuro-developmental disabilities require extra support for mainstreaming; he requests all employers and stakeholders to extend their hands for more employability of people with neuro-developmental disabilities in the formal job sectors. He expressed his appreciation for the work of BBDN.
Mr. Monsur AhmedChoudhuri, Trustee of BBDN, during his closing remarks, conveyed hisgratitude to ILO for tremendous support to BBDN since its inception. He also requested all BBDN members tocontinue supporting BBDN as they have in the past and work for the enlargement of the network.
Mr. Kishore Kumar Singh, Chief Technical Adviser, B-SEP project of ILO, shared his personal experience of how BBDN started andemphasized the importance of the network for making theprivate sector inclusive. He stressed that BBDN has the potential to be one of the biggest platforms for the national advocacy initiatives for implementation of national action plan on disability. Finally, he invited other international development partners and Embassies to support BBDN with their shared vision.
The workshop concluded with a round of applause for Mr. Singh,without whose support from the ILO side, would not have made it possible for BBDN to be launched and gain the traction that it did. BBDN is forever grateful to the support, dedication and commitment of Mr. Singh and the ILO to bringing BBDN to fruition.