The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Bangladesh and its implementing partner Prottyashi have established a training and production centre for host communities in Cox’s Bazar, with support of the Government of Japan.
Launched on Feb 16, under IOM’s nine-month ‘Livelihood Improvement for Everyone (LIFE)’ project, the center aims to contribute to the economic stability of host communities in Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas (sub-districts), by boosting their skills and creating income generating activities, said the IOM on Monday.Fishing communities in the region have been heavily affected by the fishing ban on the Naf River and in search of different socioeconomic opportunities. Along with these communities, the project targets vulnerable individuals, including youth, victims of trafficking, survivors of gender-based violence and people with disabilities.
This project also seeks to empower women through cooperatives and household-level livelihoods initiatives with potential to meet market demands.
With the newly acquired knowledge, the participants will be encouraged to develop their own individual or group enterprises through the start-up grants.
The newly launched center in Hnila, in the Teknaf sub-district, is fully equipped with the tools and kits needed for participants to engage in training sessions on business development, craft making, embroidery, hand stitching, sewing, among others.
Prior to the project, Hnila resident Rina Parvin was struggling to make ends meet. “When I heard about the new center, I was excited to be able to enhance my skills. I was already sewing but not at a professional level. Now I can scale up the production and increase my client base,” Rina explained.
With the engagement of local private sector partner Shadesh Palli, the products created at the center will be sold in shops and outlets across Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong and Dhaka. To ensure the sustainability of the intervention, the company will also provide technical support and market accessibility for all the participants.Meetings, strategic workshops and field days will be organised to create a space for beneficiaries to seek and provide advice, and discuss market challenges and opportunities. The products created will be displayed at different exhibition points in Cox’s Bazar and eventually sold through an e-commerce platform.
“The LIFE project was developed to ensure that vulnerable host communities in Teknaf have the appropriate skills and entrepreneurial education needed to become legitimate entrepreneurs,” said Patrick Charignon, IOM Cox’s Bazar Transition and Recovery Program Coordinator. “Through the project, we can boost the creativity of these communities and give them the opportunity to be self-reliant.”