National Nutrition Services, Nutrition International and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association join efforts to improve nutrition for garment factory workers
The memorandum of understanding serves to further strengthen collaborative efforts to prevent anaemia while helping to improve the health and wellbeing of garment factory women workers in Bangladesh.
Posted on February 22, 2023
Dhaka, BANGLADESH – At a dissemination event for the Nutrition of Working Women (NoWW) project, the National Nutrition Services (NNS), Nutrition International and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to extend their joint commitment to promote workplace nutrition in readymade garment factories in Bangladesh to March 2027.
“Anaemia is a serious public health issue in Bangladesh and it is found that more than 46% of women aged between 15 and 49 suffer from it,” said Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP, Honorable Speaker of Bangladesh National Parliament who attended as the Chief Guest. “The Nutrition of Working Women project in our knitwear industry has led to a number of positive outcomes encompassing a reduction in the prevalence of anaemia in the knitwear workers from 65% to 47% after the first phase of the project.”
The NoWW project was implemented by NNS, Nutrition International and BKMEA from 2019 to 2021 in 116 factories. Women received weekly iron and folic acid supplementation to combat anaemia – or antenatal iron and folic acid supplementation if they were pregnant. All male and female workers received information on the importance of micronutrient supplementation, balanced diets and hygiene practices. Over two years, the project reached more than two million workers with nutrition education and trained more than 11,000 volunteer female employees to support their peers in accessing and understanding the importance of health and nutrition.
“Considering the massive success of the first phase of the project which is continuing to contribute to the wellbeing of our workers, I believe sustaining this partnership between BKMEA and Nutrition International can lead to the continuity of the nutrition project for the long term,” said Mohammad Hatem, Executive President, BKMEA. “The future initiatives of the project can also focus on creating a meaningful impact on the health condition of our workers.”
Through the extension of the MoU, NNS, Nutrition International and BKMEA have agreed to work together to identify opportunities for joint initiatives and develop sustainable and scalable approaches to improve the health and wellbeing of the factory workers. The MoU was signed by Dr. Md. Abdul Mannan, Line Director of NNS, Joel Spicer, President and CEO of Nutrition International, and Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, Vice President of BKMEA.
“For nearly 30 years, Nutrition International has worked as a trusted partner of the Government of Bangladesh, which has made real strides in addressing malnutrition rates across the country,” said Joel Spicer, President and CEO, Nutrition International. “Today, we are extending our commitment to the NoWW project, alongside BKMEA and the National Nutrition Services. Together, we urge other partners to join us in scaling up this program – so as many women as possible have the nutrition and knowledge they need to take charge of their health.”
The NoWW dissemination event, jointly organized by BKMEA and Nutrition International, was also attended by Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Honorable Senior Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Government of Bangladesh; Dr. Md M. Islam Bulbul, Program Manager, National Nutrition Services, as well as factory owners, managers, and workers.