Stitch for RMG: Global Innovation Challenge announces 6 winners

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-02-23 08:52:02 – Bangladesh

The STITCH (Safeguarding through Innovation and Technology) for RMG Global Innovation Challenge, a collaboration between H&M Foundation, BRAC, and The Asia Foundation focused on empowering and equipping women working in Bangladesh's Ready-Made Garment (RMG) industry, has announced six winners.

The Stitch for RMG Global Innovation Challenge partnership recognizes the importance of automation and digital technology in the garment industry but also recognizes the threat that it poses to millions of jobs, particularly for women in Bangladesh, who make up the majority of the workforce in the RMG industry and work in routine-style jobs that are at high risk of automation. 

The Stitch for RMG Global Innovation Challenge also recognizes the critical need for a competent female workforce to save employment, generate new job possibilities, and promote gender parity while improving factory performance.

The program was launched on 25 October 2021, with the tagline "Tailoring the innovations of tomorrow." A total of 1,258 teams from 39 nations submitted their ideas, with 220 receiving final approval.

According to the H&M Foundation, all six winners of The Stitch for RMG Global Innovation Challenge have the potential to improve the industry's competitiveness and the livelihoods of women garment workers. In addition to receiving a US$30,000 award, the six teams will have the opportunity to begin piloting their inventions in selected partner factories right away.

Six Bangladeshi factories have volunteered to provide time, space, and other resources for the winners of The Stitch for RMG challenge to pilot their projects, and each team was able to find their best match through a unique digital matchmaking process in which innovators and factory owners both expressed interest in developing business together.

The six winners are Agroshift – A demand-driven digital grocery platform for RMG workers; i-SMART – A platform developing a standardized skill matrix for women sewing workers; Jyoti – removing the barriers of access to sanitary pads for RMG factory workers to enhance menstruation hygiene; Quizrr – promoting female role models through skill and leadership training for garment workers; Sustify – building capacity through gamified microlearning for female factory workers in Bangladesh; and ToguMogu –  A platform supporting the wellbeing and parenthood of female garment workers.

Diana Amini, global manager of the H&M Foundation, said she believes that everyone has distinct roles to play, and their as representatives of the charitable sector is to be able to support early-stage ideas, approaches, and breakthroughs, as well as to take risks that other players cannot. They can also co-create and evaluate solutions with their partners, as well as encourage others to assist them in scaling them.

Asif Saleh, ED, BRAC, said that unlike how it is regarded elsewhere, they looked at innovation that is not necessarily driven by-products, it can be about processes, it can be about simple solutions, and especially, simplicity is the key toward scalability.

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