By Samhita Social Ventures
January 13, 2022
Given the steep hit that the garment industry took due to COVID-19 and the impact it had on the livelihood of garment workers, Arvind Foundation has partnered with Samhita-CGF and impact partner Learnet to provide financial support, re-skilling and placements to ex-Arvind workers who were laid off during the pandemic. Arvind Foundation is the CSR arm of Arvind Ltd, a global player in the textile and apparel manufacturing industry and they became an integral member of the REVIVE alliance – aiming to create a better normal.
Learnet is a training and placement agency and they have limited connections with the local communities. There is a need for the intervention of a grassroots NGO or organization that can aid mobilization and ensure that the program serves the beneficiaries in need (people who lost jobs on account of the pandemic in this case).
Learnet, CGF and SuperMoney struggled to reach out to these communities and conduct monitoring/impact assessment after their placements and receipt of RG. The involvement of an intermediary organisation can improve accountability when it comes to repayment and will further streamline the RG related processes.
Candidates are associated with Learnet for a short span of 4.5 hours and are mapped to a job almost immediately and have very limited connection with them. The curriculum is very basic and does not equip them with the required skill sets. Since the cohort was heterogeneous in terms of their socio-economic background, qualifications and technical skills, Learnet struggled to map the available openings to their skill sets and could not fully satisfy their requirements. There is a need to design a longer upskilling/reskilling program with a focused approach that aims to train candidates to take up job roles that are in demand (Refer reskilling note proposed to Arvind).
It is also imperative to incorporate financial and digital literacy modules into the curriculum to ensure uptake of digital tools amongst communities.
Training partners are new to hybrid programs including financial instruments like Returnable Grants. There is a need for capacity building of these training partners to improve communication and ensure a seamless flow of clean data.
These salaried blue-collar workers earn an average salary of INR 10,000 – 12,000 and have the capacity to repay. Based on informed consent and prior assessment of their financial health, e-mandates can be executed for the candidates willing to accept the terms & conditions. Alternatively, suitable channels can be created for candidates who wish to make offline payments (via cash/cheque) and the repayment options should be designed in such a way that it leaves no one behind. Additional support to open bank accounts, correction of KYC particulars and encouraging the community to adopt healthier financial practices and be undertaken by implementing agencies.