Priority Areas and Activities

Photo: Graduation Ceremony of the Academy of Work (AoW), November 2018, Dhaka. (from left to right) Imran Matin, PhD Executive Director, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University; Zafrul Hasan, Executive director, Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies - BILS; Peter Fahrenholtz, Ambassador of Germany to Bangladesh; Tina Blohm, Resident Representative, FES Bangladesh. Photo by FES Bangladesh/Mahmud Hossain Opu

Our Work in Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Office of FES began its journey in March 2013. Together with our partners, we regularly organize policy dialogues, seminars and trainings on three priority areas:

  • The Future of the Labour Movement
  • The Future of Work and the Economy
  • The Future of Higher Education

We discuss these issues with regard to developments in Bangladesh, in the region, and globally, to link debates around the world, create stimulating exchanges on multiple levels and to help foster regional and global alliances.

The Future of the Labour Movement

FES, with its roots in the German and international labour movement, works with its partners around the globe to promote workers’ rights and social justice. In Bangladesh, FES supports constructive social dialogue between free and independent trade unions, employers and the government. Such a social partnership on an equal playing field allows for peaceful industrial relations and fair bargaining. FES also works with partners in the informal sector to achieve social protection.

The Future of Work and the Economy

In the wake of economic and social challenges, there is an increasing consensus that we need new models of sustainable economic growth. FES in Bangladesh addresses social justice in the economy by (1) Examining and promoting Core Labour Standards and advocating for social causes; (2) Looking at the future of work in Bangladesh and Asia, with a special focus on gender; (3) Working on an Economy of Tomorrow, which brings together thinkers to exchange ideas on economic models for inclusiveness, sustainability and ecologically dynamic growth.

The Future of Higher Education

Higher education regimes, in Bangladesh and around the globe, are at multiple crossroads. Academic institutions offering tertiary education face new challenges and opportunities stemming from processes of globalization, technical innovation and social transformation. In order to think creatively about these changes, FES in Bangladesh regularly involves students, academics, and policymakers to discuss innovative ideas and policy changes.

Academy of Work (AoW)

A functioning social dialogue relies on strong trade unions. Yet, unions are only strong, if they are well-equipped both internally and externally. The Academy of Work is consequently a joint collaboration programme of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies-BILS, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development, BRAC University and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Bangladesh that since 2017 aims is to strengthen dialogue between trade unions across sectors, and to strengthen the trade union movement itself. Since its beginning, the Academy’s trainers have worked to improve the curriculum, incorporating the experiences made over the first years as well as current developments to further build on the programme’s success.

The course is a policy oriented and sustainable 3-month training for young union leaders designed to establish an all-inclusive representation of workers' interests and to support harmonious industrial relations that lead to an effective social dialogue. With participants from various sectors, such as the RMG, transport, construction and public sector, the programme aspires to create a network of graduates that together can make the trade union movement stronger. Today, many of our valued partners are previous graduates from the academy. The programme is completely run in Bangla by professionals and academics from Bangladesh.

As of September 2019, the third session of Academy of Work is currently running. This time, with more emphasis on for example gender in trade unions and the media.

Learn more about the background of the Academy of Work here:

Academy of Work in Bangladesh

Partners of FES in Bangladesh

FES is proud to work with a network of trusted partners in Bangladesh, which include, amongst others, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), the University of Dhaka (DU), the Bangladesh Institute for Labour Studies (BILS), SME Foundation and Awaj Foundation and Karmajibi Nari (KN).