Micro financing and employment in the garments industry are two predominant forces driving social and economic change in Bangladesh. They have been the key elements in breaking the cycle of poverty and empowering women. As an NGO offering microcredit and working with garment industry workers, Sheva is uniquely positioned to work for livelihood change at the grassroots level with women who are standing at the crossroads of these two movements.
This unique position enables Sheva to develop innovative models for creating economic sustainability, social security, and increased well-being. Examples of some of these innovations are listed below:
- Since 1998 Sheva has fine tuned a system of customized corrective actions for remediation of working conditions to meet compliance standards of corporate buyers and brands in the global market.
- In the year 2000, using the open learning method, Sheva developed six training modules for junior managers and supervisory staff in the garments industry. This pilot project was done in collaboration with the Resource Center of the IBLF, Oxfam GB, Common Wealth of Learning (Canada), Verite and Bangladesh Open University.
- In 2005 Sheva pioneered an in-factory worker education program for garment workers during working hours, with modules on Healthcare, Rights & Responsibilities, and Life Skills Enhancement. This was a customized version of Verite’s mobile van program in China.
- In 2006, Sheva implemented a Community Based Micro Enterprise Development program delivering vocational training to 1000 village women. Levi Strauss and Co provided the funding for the training component of this project.
- In 2012, Sheva developed Code of Conduct posters for Primark with factory worker participation.