Microfinance Opportunities - Scaled Garment Worker Diaries | ICAR

Microfinance Opportunities - Scaled Garment Worker Diaries

Microfinance Opportunities (MFO) is a global non-profit focused on understanding the financial realities of low-income households. The Scaled Garment Worker Diaries project is the second phase of the Garment Workers Project. It was started in July 2018 by MFO and SANEM.

They started with about 200 workers in Bangladesh and scaled up to over 1,300 workers by the end of 2018. They collected data from those workers throughout 2019, and use the data to track their work hours, earnings, expenses, savings, loans, and transfers. The objective of the project is to have the data inform government policy decisions, collective bargaining, and factory and brand initiatives related to improving the lives of garment workers.

MFO works with field teams in-country to collect primary data on garment workers’ economic lives. They do this data collection every week for one year. In October 2019, they launched a new dashboard that allows users to view the data in a variety of ways, including being able to make regional comparisons and comparisons across brands that source their products from factories in Bangladesh.

Data collection ended in January 2020 but was restarted in April 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and will continue until December 2020 under funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The new data collection follows the same model as before except that each week the interviews can include additional questions, often supplied by stakeholders who are interested in a particular issue. The Diaries now also collect data on the extent to which workers use digital financial services, including whether the factory pays them digitally.


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# and type of entity1,300Workers
# of metrics disclosed20
# of data points gathered per entity20
Year of first public disclosure2018
Data collection methodPrimary field research
Data verification methodSelf-Disclosed
Themes evaluatedAge, Education, Industries, Region, Skill level, Tenure, Wages, Working time
Vehicle for disclosurePDF, Interactive online reports, Online interactive Tableau visualizations
Cost to accessFree
Intended users of the DisclosureWorkers in factories, Factories and/or suppliers, Brands and retailers, Unions, Governments, Consumers, NGOs and civil society