Beta version of digital map aims to chart Bangladeshi garment factories
Mapped in Bangladesh, a research initiative from BRAC University and C&A Foundation, has digitally mapped export-oriented ready-made garment factories in Dhaka.
DHAKA, BANGLADESH — 9 February 2019 — BRAC University today launched the beta version of a digital map containing information on export-oriented ready-made garment factories across the Dhaka district of Bangladesh. The map was officially inaugurated by the honorable Commerce Minister of Bangladesh, Mr. Tipu Munshi, MP.
For more than three decades, the garment sector has been the driving force behind Bangladesh’s economy, spurring tremendous economic growth and employing more than 3.5 million workers — the majority of whom are young women. Mapped in Bangladesh aims to accelerate recent progress in the sector through increased transparency.
Led by BRAC University, with lead funding from C&A Foundation and support from BRAC USA, Mapped in Bangladesh has collected essential primary data on export-oriented factories across the Dhaka district and published it online in an interactive, digital map. Enumerators used a door-to-door approach, visiting each factory to gather the data.
“This is a very timely and significant initiative,” said Mr. Munshi. “The buyers, who purchase products from us, can know more about the factories. The factories can also find themselves on a digital map. Our honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has dreamed of a Digital Bangladesh. This initiative has added a new feather to that goal. I hope that this map will continue to be developed focusing on the ready-made garment sector and its overall growth.”
The public database maps factory names, GPS location, postal address, number of workers, products, export countries, brands and buyers, and memberships, affiliations, and certifications. Data updates will be crowdsourced to the public and then verified to ensure that information remains current.
“We at BRAC University believe that once this platform is fully completed, there will be various uses and benefits to stakeholders across the industry,” said Syed Hasibuddin Hussain, the Project Manager for Mapped in Bangladesh. “The government, city planners, and civil society organizations can utilize this map’s industry dispersion and concentration data. The industry can also use the tool to showcase its capability and enable greater efficiency. But most of all, as an academic organization, we feel excited by the prospect that this user-friendly resource can support future research initiatives on the ready-made garment industry,” he added.
The initiative has also forged strategic partnerships with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), the largest trade associations in the country, and received support from the Department of Inspections for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) under Bangladesh’s Ministry of Labor and Employment.
“This transparency initiative serves as a starting point toward re-branding the apparel industry of Bangladesh,” said Mr. Md. Siddiqur Rahman, President of BGMEA. “We have made tremendous progress in safety and sustainability of the industry in recent years. BGMEA engaged with and facilitated this initiative to promote transparency in this industry. We believe the digital map will empower stakeholders across the industry, including factories, brands and retailers, and government, by establishing a better understanding of the industry and helping users access accurate, real-time information. This will strengthen the effectiveness of improvements already underway.”
Mapped in Bangladesh is guided by an expert Project Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from rights-based organizations, research organizations, international brands, NGOs, major industry associations, and the Government of Bangladesh, inspiring shared responsibility across the industry.
“Mapped in Bangladesh enables a collective action approach to advancements in the garment sector by bringing together key industry stakeholders,” said Linda Patentas, Program Manager for Cities, Supply Chains, and Migration at BRAC USA. “Transparency tools like Mapped in Bangladesh can continue to strengthen improvements and facilitate growth in the ready-made garment industry.”
An expanded map, incorporating factories from across the country, is expected to be completed in 2021.
Notes to the Editor
About BRAC USA
Based in New York, BRAC USA is the North American affiliate of BRAC, a global leader in developing cost-effective, evidence-based solutions to create opportunities for people in extremely poor, conflict-prone, and post-disaster settings. Founded in Bangladesh in 1972, BRAC’s vision is a world free from all forms of exploitation and discrimination where everyone has the opportunity to realize their potential. BRAC USA provides comprehensive support to BRAC around the world by raising awareness about its work to empower the poor in 11 countries across South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and mobilizing resources to support its programs. BRAC USA is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.
About BRAC University
BRAC established BRAC University in 2001 with a mission to educate and empower a new generation of leaders in Bangladesh and create a center of academic excellence in the global south. The University has since become a conduit of higher education, educating more than 9,000 students from over 20 countries in its undergraduate and graduate programs. It has cultivated dozens of partnerships with leading global research institutions and draws passionate faculty from around the world. In 2018, BRAC University was named the number one private university in Bangladesh in the first rankings of their kind to be published in the country.
About C&A Foundation
C&A Foundation is a corporate foundation here to transform the fashion industry. C&A Foundation gives its partners financial support, expertise, and networks so they can make the fashion industry work better for every person it touches. It does this because of the belief that despite the vast and complex challenges we face, we can work together to make fashion a force for good.
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