The Asia Foundation’s Oporajita Team Visits Sweden for H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award Week

Program Year: 2023

A team from The Asia Foundation’s Bangladesh office visited Stockholm, Sweden, on June 2023 to take part in H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award Week. The Foundation is operating as the backbone organization for Oporajita: Collective Impact on Future of Work  – a collaborative initiative of 11 implementation organizations, initiated by H&M Foundation and supported by Sweden and COS, all working together to safeguard the livelihoods of women garment workers in Bangladesh from a future defined by automation.  

The Global Change Award Week featured a series of events and engagements with key global stakeholders in the textile industry, with attendance by development partners, investors, industry leaders, and innovators. The theme of the week centered on identifying and supporting innovations that work towards a more inclusive and planet-positive textile industry. 

The events included showcases from current and past winning innovators from H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award, along with special features from iSmart and Quizrr, winners from the STITCH for RMG innovation challenge conducted in Bangladesh in 2022, with support from H&M Foundation and The Asia Foundation.

Oporajita partners with representatives from BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) (Photo Courtesy – H&M Foundation)

The Asia Foundation team also participated in various internal workshops to share their knowledge and experience on implementing the unique collective impact approach in Bangladesh, along with several other backbone organizations around the world. These meetings provided key opportunities to discuss the role of backbone organizations, operationalizing synergies between partners, and keeping the primary actors (target groups) at the center of program strategy.  

Two partner organizations for Oporajita (implementing its Cross-Sector Dialogue Series and Challenge Fund interventions) joined The Asia Foundation in the events, such as the “Open Perspectives” showcase for industry thoughts leaders to discuss the emerging trends and call-to-actions for the textile industry, and the fireside chat with H&M Group CEO Helena Helmersson and former CEO of Unilever and co-author of “Net Positive” Paul Polman.

Global Change Award Ceremony (Photo Courtesy: H&M Foundation)

The Global Change Award week was one among a series of network-building activities The Asia Foundation is coordinating in both local and global contexts to connect with organizations aligned with Oporajita’s common agenda of safeguarding women garment workers’ livelihoods, inspiring organizations and individuals to work collectively to solve systems-level issues.   

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