Bangladesh Business and Disability Network to help boost disability inclusion

A new business network will support the practical needs of employers who are employing people with disabilities or are willing to make their workplaces more disability inclusive.

News | 19 December 2016
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declares the launch of the BBDN. Joining her (from left) are Shah Mohamad Abu Zafar, Chairman, NCCWE; Salahuddin Kasem Khan, President BEF; Guy Ryder, Director General ILO; Nurul Islam, Minister of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment; Nurul Islam Nahid, Minister of Education; Md. Mujibul Haque, State Minister for Labour and Employment and Siddiqur Rahman, President, BGMEA.©ILO
The Bangladesh Business Disability Network (BBDN), is a voluntary group of representatives from business, non-governmental and disabled peoples’ organizations with a primary purpose of helping people with disabilities to find decent work and for employers to recruit staff with disabilities. The network, which operates under the Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF) was officially launched by the Hon Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 11 December 2016.

A workshop held in Dhaka today by the (BEF) and the Canadian-funded Bangladesh Skills for Employment and Productivity (B-SEP) Project of the International Labour Organization (ILO) introduced the BBDN to employers who are currently employing or willing to employ persons with disabilities. By doing so it helped highlight the social and economic benefits of disability inclusive industries for promoting growth and productivity.

Speaking at the event, Salahuddin Kasem Khan, President of the Bangladesh Employers’ Federation said, “Staff with disabilities bring skills and diversity to the workplace. Hiring them helps foster greater social inclusion and above all, makes good business sense. The Bangladesh Business Disability Network will play an important role in facilitating companies to recruit and accommodate a more diverse workforce.”

Participants at the workshop heard how the BBDN could help their companies better accommodate existing workers with disabilities. BBDN can also provide practical advice to organizations wishing to start making their workforce more disability inclusive.

Amongst other activities the BBDN will help share knowledge and identify good practices among companies and employers’ organizations related to hiring and retention of disabled persons. It will help companies adhere to international and national labour standards related to disability and provide advice on inclusion of disability issues into corporate policies and CSR programmes.

Linkages will also be forged among companies, non-governmental organizations, governments, employers' organizations, disabled people’s organizations and international agencies to facilitate BBDN objectives at national level. This will help, for example, to bring together companies which wish to make their workforce more diverse with potential staff.

The BBDN is based on ILO’s Global Business Disability Network which was formed in 2010 to encourage greater disability inclusion in the workforce.