Skills and enterprise

ILO and the Government of Bangladesh launch skills and economic livelihoods project for women and youth in Cox’s Bazar

24,000 Bangladeshis, 18 to 35 years old, will learn valuable skills for work and business.

Press release | Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh | 05 September 2023
Cox's Bazar project launch, Bangladesh. © ILO
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) new project Leaving No One Behind: Improving Skills and Economic Opportunities for the women and youths in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh (ISEC) was launched by the Minister of Youth and Sports on Tuesday 5th of September in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The project will equip Bangladeshi women and youth in Cox’s Bazar with skills to improve their chances of getting quality jobs and developing their own businesses.

“This project is a major initiative by the Department of Youth Development in the Cox Bazar district,” said Md. Zahid Ahsan Russel, State Minister for Youth and Chief Guest. “It will help to significantly reduce the number of youth not in education, employment or training in Bangladesh, currently 28.88 per cent”.  

The project, funded by the Governments of Canada and the Netherlands, will involve a wide range of stakeholders in skills development, employment generation and business development, including technical and vocational educational training (TVET) institutions, working in partnership with BRAC, A2i, and ILO sister UN agencies UNDP and FAO.

“Canada is pleased to be supporting efforts building resilience of communities in Cox’s Bazar, who continue to be impacted by a protracted regional crisis. Women’s economic empowerment is key to sustainable economic growth and we are pleased to be working with our partners to build the skills of women and youth, in line with Bangladesh’s own National Skills Development Policy. We invite other countries to join us in this effort,” said H.E. Lilly Nicholls, the High Commissioner of Canada in Bangladesh.

The project aims to give women, youth, ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities skills and competencies that will increase their participation in the labour market, especially in non-traditional sectors and occupations. This will include business development services, competency-based training, and apprenticeships.

Thijs Woudstra, Chargé affairs at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh said: “The Netherlands is pleased to extend its support to Decent Work and social cohesion in Bangladesh to the communities of Cox’s Bazar because we believe no one should be left behind – not women, not youth, not persons with disabilities, no one.”

The project will contribute towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Goal 4 – inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all; Goal 5 – gender equality and empowerment of women and girls; and Goal 8 – sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Tuomo Poutiainen, the ILO Country Director for Bangladesh said “The ILO is delighted to work together with the Government and project partners in addressing skills and employment needs especially for women and youth in areas that are lagging on key development indicators like Cox’s Bazar district. Women and youth must be equipped with skills that will enable them to start successful businesses as well as take advantage of job opportunities arising from the growth of the economy in the Chattogram Division in Bangladesh”.