The Gap Inc, a global apparel retailer, and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have recently signed an agreement that will enable the UN agency to implement the company's innovative Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement (PACE) curriculum modules in Bangladesh.
The PACE curriculum will provide foundational life skills, technical training and education, including courses on communication, problem-solving, decision-making, time and stress management and financial literacy.
Launched in 2007, PACE was initially created to support women working in the global apparel industry. It has since expanded to community settings, including schools and universities, in 18 countries and trained approximately 300,000 participants.
At the signing ceremony, both the organisations pledged to help bring about positive changes for migrants and their communities through this initiative, said a press release of the IOM, Bangladesh, on Tuesday.
Bangladesh is a unique example when it comes to addressing migration issues. The parallel progression of managing migration, protecting migrants, and building resilience of communities through technical and soft skills development, is extremely important for the country to ensure its continued growth, said IOM Bangladesh mission chief Giorgi Gigauri at the programme.
"Achieving efficient and sustainable migration governance cannot be ensured through the efforts of government and development actors alone. It also depends heavily on private sector initiatives such as PACE," he said.
PACE also supports the IOM's Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) initiative, which is designed to help unlock the potential of the private sector to drive positive change for the protection of migrant workers and their communities in Asia.
Over the past decade, migration has become one of the strongest drivers of Bangladesh's growing economy. With more than 12 million Bangladeshis residing abroad, the country witnessed remittances inflow of USD 13.6 billion in 2018.
Bangladesh also hosts a large population of refugees. Factors such as poverty and lack of job opportunities across the country will continue to influence migration in the near future.
"We're proud to continue to scale the programme through this new and innovative partnership with IOM," said Susan Goss Brown, president of Gap Foundation.
The PACE programme unlocks opportunities for people around the world. Not only do participants gain important skills and resources to help plan for their future, but they often become advocates for change, he said.