Developing effective up-to-date programs that benefit migrant workers is one of the primary goals of RMMRU. Below is a list of the programs RMMRU has engaged in during the past:
Time Frame: May 2010- February 2014
Funded By: Winrock International, Bangladesh; RMMRU
Run Time: June 2003-January 2010
In Partnership with: The University of Sussex
Commissioned by: Department for International Development (DFID), UK
Department for International Development (DFID), UK
The DRC on Migration, Globalization and Poverty in Bangladesh was designed to focus on both internal and international flows of people covering a continuum of movements classified as both ‘forced’ and ‘voluntary’. This program established a coalition of partners to cultivate sustained and in-depth research while increasing the capacity of young academics in the field of migration by offering fellowship, internship and training. Furthermore, the research produced by this program aided in integral policy advocacy and changes to ensure good governance in migration. During the project period, several research works were commissioned thereby enriching the existing resource pool and intellectual capacity among young professionals. These works include: Impact of Internal Migration on Certain Sectors of Rural and Urban Economics: the Case of Garment Workers, Child Migration for Work, Role of Informal Recruitment Industry in the Labour Migration Process and Vulnerability, and Social Protection of Bangladeshi Migrant Workers in the Gulf Countries
Run time: 2006 - 2009
Commissioned by: Manusher Jonno Foundation
CABSLAM is an important grassroots level intervention conducted by RMMRU. The over-arching goals of CABSLAM were to promote short-term labour migration as a development-enhancing tool and to influence policy for good governance in migration management. CABSLAM is also responsible for initiating the Migrant Rights’ Protection Committees (MRPCs) , paving the way for bottom-up grassroots advocacy and leadership surrounding migration. Moreover, CABSLAM trained and motivated bank officials to provide better services to migrant workers and their families, developed a pre-departure orientation training module for out-going female migrant workers, and conducted a nation-wide thematic media campaign on safe labour migration . Additionally, CABSLAM created a library and web based information system to increase accessibility to migration resources for researchers, teacher and students alike.
Run time: 2006-2011
This program was designed to produce measurable impacts on the price, speed and growth of remittances in Bangladesh. The program encouraged the flow of remittances through formal channels to poor and rural Bangladeshi households. Additionally, it fostered an enabling environment for remittances to be used for private micro enterprise development to enhance growth and poverty reduction. These goals were accomplished by creating awareness amongst migrants, potential migrants, and their families about remittance transfer and effective utilization. Furthermore, RMMRU conducted research on remittance flows and utilization, trained local opinion leaders, journalists and bank officials, developed and disseminated information via media campaigns, and helped the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training with data collection.
Funded by: Department for International Development (DFID) through Development Research Centre (DRC) on Migration, Globalization and Poverty
This program was developed in response to two studies conducted under the auspices of the DRC. The project had two components with two mutually exclusive sets of objectives. The first component under the theme,Campaign to promote the rights of the camp dwelling Urdu speaking community in Bangladesh, was geared towards promoting effective citizenship rights of the members of the community, accessing basic rights (shelter, employment and vote) and a formal declaration from the Government that Biharis are Bangladeshis. RMMRU accomplished these tasks by publishing a policy brief (August 2007), issuing press statements, translating the policy brief into Bangla, urging the government to recognize all members of the camp dwelling as Bangladeshi nationals, and facilitating the exercise of effective citizenship rights by enrolling members of the community as voters. Furthermore, RMMRU published multiple newspaper articles on the issue to gain national awareness on the issue. RMMRU also produced a short-film to advocate for Biharis rights and break the stigma around the community. As a direct result of RMMRU’s efforts, the High Court has directed the Election Commission to enroll the Biharis in the voter list as Bangladesh citizens.
The second component of the program,Promoting graduate level studies on nursing to facilitate skilled migration, campaigned for the introduction of a 4-year Bachelor’s course on Nursing in public / private universities / medical colleges. To accomplish this goal, RMMRU produced a policy brief on the issue. Following the policy brief, RMMRU organized a consultation meeting with key stakeholders and a national consultation. Consequently, the Government of Bangladesh formed a task force on the issue that is geared at restructuring nursing education in Bangladesh.
Run time: 2004 - 2006
Funded by:Department for International Development (DFID), UK
SAMReN is a network of academics, researchers, civil society activists and migrant support groups which facilitates the institutionalized sharing of knowledge and information on migration among South Asian scholars. SAMReN aimed at developing the capacity of young academics and researchers on migration through training; to engage in policy advocacy; to encourage and facilitate data sharing between stakeholders in different countries; to help to facilitate the sharing of information through interactive websites, regional seminars and training courses; and to provide broad based and reliable information and options to policy makers at national and regional levels. In Novemver 2004, RMMRU launched a SAMRen website to enable the above goals. Additionally, SAMRen offered five research fellowships to young professionals from South Asia. One of the major achievements of SAMReN was successfully organizing a Ten-day Residential Training Workshop on ‘Migration, Globalization, Security and Development’. The workshop enhanced understanding of migration processes in South Asia.
Run time: 2005 - 2006
Funded by: British High Commission, Bangladesh
This programmed was developed to foster social and cultural exchange between communities in Bangladesh and the United Kingdom (UK), recognize the contribution of the 1st generation expatriate Bangladeshis and the hardship they went through as emigrants, consolidate cultural ties with young British-Bangladeshis and the people of Bangladesh, and sensitize young British-Bangladeshis about the rich cultural heritage of Bangladesh. These goals were accomplished through: seminars, talks and photo exhibitions, the development of a website with information about Bangladesh, and the production of a music album of young British-Bangladeshis living in the UK and young Bangladeshis in Bangladesh.
Run time: 2005 - 2006
Funded by: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK
The aim of this program was to produce several dramas through which information on safe migration and harmful effects of migrating abroad through irregular paths could be provided to a broader audience. Among the developed countries, the UK is one of the major destinations for Bangladeshi emigrants. There are different formal avenues, like student visa or work visa, through which one can enter the UK. Therefore, people with specific skills can migrate through formal channels. The dramas, along with other campaign materials disseminated this information about formal channels of migration. Additionally RMMRU distributed information about current UK and EU policies on deportation of irregular migrants. The program also conducted research to illuminate the harmful effects experienced by those who migrate irregularly. The main outcome of the program was increased awareness amongst potential Bangladeshi migrants about safer migration options to the UK while curbing fraudulence in labour migration.
In this respect RMMRU has conducted research to identify professions where one can legally migrate. The organization has also carried out research on harmful effects experienced by those who migrate illegally. The main focus of the project was to inform potential Bangladeshi migrants about options available to safely migrate to the United Kingdom while also curbing fraudulence in labour migration.
Dramas were produced under the project addressing several issues: Promoting safe migration, discouraging irregular migration and illegal practices of travel agencies/ brokers/ recruiting agencies/ educational counselors, the reality abroad, informing students of the advantages and challenges they would possibly face studying abroad, the current situation of employment markets and migration (Business/ Work Visa) options, encouraging social adaptation of students and migrants who are going/living abroad, circumstances of Bangladeshis overstaying at the UK under tourist/ visit and its consequences, and addressing the issue of migration through “marriage” are the major thematic areas of concentration. Several dramas were produced in collaboration with a reputed media production house, with the dramas subsequently broadcast on the national TV channel and some private TV channels, too. You can read more about other RMMRU drama productions here!
Funded by: Regional Centre for Strategic Studies Center (RSC), Oxford University
This program organized the first Regional Conference of Scholars and Other Professional Working on Refugee and Displacement Issues in Dhaka. As a follow up of the conference a higher education link was established in 1998 with the Refugee Studies Centre of the University of Oxford.Under the Link, the Unit conducted research studies on refugees, migrants, stateless persons such as Biharis in camps, internally displaced persons, trafficked in women and children, and other marginalized groups. Additional conferences and seminars were also organized in order to bring migration issues up for discussion at the regional level. Young Researchers’ Forum (YRF) was also a result of this program (above). Under the link, a full course on Refugees, Migrants and the Displaced was developed at Dhaka University. Finally, this program established exchange visits with scholars in migration discourse from Oxford and Dhaka University, thereby increasing the global migration network.
Run time: 1996 – 2004
Funded by: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
This program was composed of short courses on International Refugee Law organized by YRF members. Additionally, studies on urban refugees, Rohingya refugees, Biharis were conducted. The UNHCR Handbook on Status Determination of Refugees was also translated to Bangla via this program. Moreover, RMMRU engaged in campaigns for the adoption of national law on refugees, accession to the 1951 Refugee Convention and ratification of the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families 1990. The program worked hard to bring citizenship and rehabilitation/reintegration of camp-based Biharis in Bangladesh to the policy agenda. When the Interim Government of 2001 sought to streamline the labour recruitment process, RMMRU was entrusted the task of preparing a policy document. Once the current government came to power, it established the new Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment. The new Ministry and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) assigned RMMRU to prepare a policy document for institutionalizing linkages with Bangladeshi Diaspora for economic development of the country.
Run time: 2002 – 2004
This program was designed to increase the knowledge and understanding of the complexity of human trafficking and to the capacity of local people to prevent trafficking. RMMRU partnered with Rights Jessore and Association for Community Development, Rajshahi to work on this program. The program took place in both Dhaka and Rajshahi. Both training and communication materials were utilized to increase awareness and prevention of the trafficking of women and children in Bangladesh.
Run time: 2002 – 2004
Funded by:British Council
RMMRU implemented this training project to help grassroots NGOs to combat trafficking. Five local NGOs participated: Rights Jessore, ACD Rajshahi, MuktiNari, PalashiparaSamajKallyanSamity and Center for Communication and Development. The program built the capacity of these grassroots NGOs so that they could train local opinion leaders and organize anti-trafficking programs. Additionally, RMMRU monitored and evaluated their field level interventions.
Run time: 2001 – 2002
Funded by: Regional Centre for Strategic Studies Center (RSC), Oxford University
Under this program, RMMRU developed a Training of Trainers (ToT) module for the community leaders with all relevant information on labour migration process. A set of flip charts and other supporting materials were also developed. Experts were invited to provide information on their respective areas of migration in the module development process. For example, bankers were approached to prepare the remittance chapter of the module. Likewise, BMET officials were asked to develop the section on processing migration. RMMRU used migrants’ associations as a source of information for the module and also as contacts to get trainees. This program was a branch of the higher education link.