CSR Awards Finalists 2022: How MetLife Builds a Financial Ecosystem for RMG Workers via Financial Literacy
Sarathi started with the aim to promote financial health of the RMG workers through wage digitization and financial literacy in a sustainable ecosystem that also benefits the RMG factories and commercial banks, partnering with SwissContact.

Based on Sarathi Baseline Study in 2016 by SwissContact Bangladesh, it was found that financial literacy helps RMG workers to overcome their fear of banking (64%) and to have trust on banking system (44%). In two years of implementation (January 2018- December 2020), 17,000 RMG workers received literacy training through 225 financial literacy sessions.

A professional implementing agency has conducted the training sessions in collaboration with RMG factories. Modules cover topic such as the benefits of saving using bank accounts, savings and credit products offered by the commercial banks, and how these products can be utilized by the RMG workers. In addition, RMG workers were informed about the benefits of formal financial services and available banking services through 11,000 mobile phone calls, 69,636 short mobile messages, 52,935 pre-recorded voice calls and the distribution of posters and stickers.

An example of the impact of the financial literacy sessions on the RMG workers is, now they mostly prefer to save in their salary accounts. This saved money helps the RMG workers to grab suitable savings schemes to meet their future goals in the long run.

This program increased the average monthly savings per worker by 318% from $11 (Tk.899) in 2018 to $37 (Tk.2,997) per month in 2019.

Industry regulatory bodies such as Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), not only acknowledged Sarathi’s contribution in wage digitization in the “Factory Manual” that has been distributed among its 2,300 association members but also shown interest in anchoring and commercializing the financial literacy training. Sarathi has helped banks to develop appropriate savings and loan products, and bundle offers complementing the salary accounts of RMG workers.

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