|• Fifth Annual Labour Attachés Conference (2013) and training and orientation sessions (2014) for labour attaches. This is a very effective output of the project that builds upon earlier efforts by MEOWE and the project partners over a number of years. Annual training for Labour attachés has in fact started in 2008 with financial support from the EU to IOM and has gradually incorporated the contributions by UN Women (then UNIFEM), ILO and lately by civil society organisations. Particularly noteworthy is the ever increasing role played by the Government of Bangladesh in developing the training contents and in conducting and facilitating the various sessions through the participation of senior officials in the respective areas of responsibility. In addition to MEWOE, Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) and Wage Earners' Welfare Board (WEWB), several other primary national stakeholders and key informants are engaged in the implementation of this initiative (Immigration and Passports, Special Branch/Police, Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited (BOESL) etc). As in many other activities, ownership by the government is therefore very high and this activity could be seen as a good practice emerging from the project.
• UN Women has also implemented an important awareness raising sub-component in 10 districts. The programme was specifically designed to create public awareness in the targeted communities on the opportunities, contributions and risks involved in overseas migration with a focus on female migrant workers. It consisted of 30 theatre shows conducted using the theatre for development approach, projection of a docudrama, theme songs (for the street drama and the docudrama) and 8 radio episodes broadcast on Bangladesh Betar. The radio episode reached mass audiences with national coverage. It is estimated that the awareness programme through popular theatre full programme reached an audience of some 15,000 people. An impact assessment of the awareness campaign has been commissioned by UN Women and gives interesting insights on its effectiveness and possible replication. For instance, for further implementation of these communication activities, listeners’ clubs and CBOs should be selected as partners as they can easily organize local events at better venues and also monitor the longer term impact of the activities and behavioural changes at the audience level. Furthermore, UN Women should think about not covering in future areas in the Dhaka division where people are more aware about these issues and focusing instead at the real periphery, for example by developing partnerships with the 14 community radio programmes operating in Bangladesh which are serving marginalized people in remote regions, in order to disseminate there the intended message. This, incidentally, has proved very successful in similar situations in other countries, most notably in Nepal.
• Activities were divided in so many sub-activities implemented by the ILO and its two international partners with the result that tracking progress became almost impossible and that lines of responsibility tended to evaporate. Likewise, some implementing partners resorted to further sub-contracting down the line which made things even more complicated. On the contrary, a complex project of this kind should try to simplify things as much as possible by maintaining, ideally, a “one output - one partner” relationship in order to ensure accountability and facilitate coordination.
• External (employment) market analysis of the UAE for women migrant workers of Bangladesh conducted by UN Women. It is the first analysis of this kind and it was meant to serve as a pilot for conducting additional studies covering other countries as well as specifically to expand employment opportunities for Bangladeshi women in the UAE. It provides very valuable information and reflection on occupational profiles of migrant women, current employment and demand scenario, projection of employment demand for migrant women, supply opportunities from Bangladesh, salary structure and trends, human rights practices, risks and vulnerabilities etc. This product should be seen as part of the consistent advocacy carried out by UN Women as regards upgrading of skills of women migrant workers to enable them to avail better employment opportunities abroad; as a result of these advocacy efforts, BMET has started to provide skills development training in non-traditional areas (e.g. construction work) for potential female workers in collaboration with other stakeholders.
• Follow up on the international accreditation of the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes of the Technical Training centres (TTC) with MEWOE and BMET. This is a new activity that replaced the originally envisaged vocational training, accreditations-related work and language training for women which should have been implemented by UN Women as from July 2013. These activities had not started by the time the Mid Term Evalaution was fielded. Moreover, a question was raised on the sustainability and feasibility of this entire block of activities and its adjustment/reconsideration was recommended. Although language training for migrant women remains fundamental and must be stepped up, given that they operate in a more insulated context while abroad and require more individual capacity to express themselves (while male workers are usually working in groups and can better support each other), the recommendation was accepted and project savings in the amount of US$ 45,663 from the UN Women allocation have been shifted to MEWOE/BMET to partially cover the cost of international accreditation of a few courses with City and Guilds (the overall cost is close to US$ 300,000 and the BMET proposal in this regard is pending approval from MEWOE). Mapping of service providers (district-wise mapping of organizations that can provide services to female and male returnee migrant workers) based on a survey conducted for assessing actual needs of returnees. This activity was implemented by UN Women. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) developed by UN Women in order to operationalize the following reintegration aspects: referral service procedures; procedures for establishing solidarity building mechanisms among migrant women; steps for providing support to children of migrant women; guidelines for temporary shelter housing facilities; innovation funding guidelines; establishing and operating network among organizations working for returnee women; and, monitoring procedures. The SOP need to be endorsed by the Government for ensuring implementation. Design of a reintegration programme targeting 48 vulnerable returnee women (developed by BRAC as a sub-contractor of UN Women). Effectiveness and impact will have to be assessed before finalization of the project document for the second phase.
• For expected output/result 3.3. Three networks and institutions providing referral services for migrant workers established and functioning Some of the considerations made for output/result 3.2. do apply also here. The block of activities leading to achievement of this output has been implemented by UN Women in cooperation with BRAC. The main purpose was to set up referral and resource centres in three districts (Faridpur, Manikganj and Dhaka) having the ability to provide a package of reintegration services to
return migrants - a totally new area of work for Bangladesh –including entrepreneurship development, business advice, re-training and employment programmes in collaboration with local partners at the community level. This initiative however has started very late (in September 2014) and although UN Women is assessing the pilot in highly positive terms (for example, training on the provision of psychosocial support to abused returning women was provided for the first time and referral of victims to the National Trauma Counselling Centre was activated under the pilot) substantial evidence and reports have not yet materialized that could allow ILO and the evaluation team to further elaborate on this output. It might very well be the case and it will be the responsibility of project partners to analyse these
achievements in the coming months.