Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has provided inclusive financing and capacity building support to low-income people to help them get out of vicious cycle of low productivity, says PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder.
It also gave technical services to them alongside technology transfer and value chain development.
Dr Nomita Halder also said that PKSF ensures safe environment for the female workers like what is done in Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) in all its project area.
“We made it flexible for the micro entrepreneurs who suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because we want to eradicate poverty by not only lending money but also creating employment opportunity,” she added.
It is also very inspiring to see how a common service facility can be helpful to a business community which does not have much access to necessary modern technical support, the PKSF managing director stated.
Promoting decent workplace, PKSF wants to ensure good business apart from sustainable business, she added. Money alone cannot solve problems as it requires commitment and partnership like that between the World Bank and PKSF, she informed.
Mercy Miyang Tembon, country director of WB, Md Fazlul Kader, additional managing director of PKSF and other representatives from the government were present on the occasion.
Bhairab is home to more than 10,000 footwear microenterprises, employing over 120,000 people.
Hartwig Schafer and the other delegation members visited SEP supported footwear common service center to support the footwear-producing microenterprises in Bhairab.
They talked to the service providers and some of the SEP-supported micro-entrepreneurs.
Appreciating the effort and enthusiasm of the female micro-entrepreneurs Mercy Miyang Tembon said, “I am very happy to meet the women who are not only working for themselves but also employing other women. That is why SEP is very important. PKSF is doing a wonderful job as they are doing it all over the country.”
Expressing satisfaction at the SEP’s role in sustainable expansion of the footwear-manufacturing microenterprises, Hartwig Schafer said, “It is great to see what can be done when you empower communities and when you start small.”
Fazlul Kader presented on the SEP’s interventions with particular focus on the footwear-producing cluster.
To assist the microenterprises of Bangladesh in enhancing their marketing and brand development capacity and adopting environmentally sustainable practices, PKSF is implementing the SEP, jointly financed by PKSF and The World Bank with support from the government of Bangladesh.
The total budget of this five-year project is $130 million, of which the World Bank and PKSF will finance $110 million and $20 million respectively.
To implement the project, the lead business clusters, based in the lead sub-sectors of the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors, are provided financial and technical support. A total of 64 sub-projects have been undertaken from 30 different sub-sectors under the project.
People’s Oriented Program Implementation (POPI), a partner organization of PKSF, is implementing one of the sub-projects, titled ‘Establishing Environmental Practices in Hazardous Footwear Microenterprises in Bhairab, Bangladesh’ sub-project in Kishoreganj to support 1,100 microenterprises adopt environmentally sustainable practices at their businesses.
Additionally, SEP also extends services like software-based footwear designs under footwear-making common service, cluster-based waste management, cluster-based WASH facilities, hand-made brand promotion and e-commerce branding.
Zahir Uddin Ahmed, project coordinator, SEP and deputy general manager of PKSF, Murshed Alam Sarker, executive director of People's Oriented Program Implementation (POPI), Eun Joo Allison Yi, senior environmental specialist of SSAEN and TTL, SEP; Christian Berger, senior agriculture economist, SSAA1, TTL MFSFP; Jacob Finnemann Viuff, Security Specialist, GCSGO were present on the occasion.