SafeStep: Using tech to enable safe recruitment for migrant workers in Bangladesh
As a part of its partnership with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), GFEMS is partnering with ELEVATE to develop and pilot SafeStep, a mobile application to provide workers with tools to make informed decisions about migration. The first iteration of the application, which is now live on the Google Play App Store, is designed for Bangladeshi workers considering migrating to work in Gulf Cooperation Council countries. ELEVATE is developing SafeStep in consortium with Diginex Solutions and Winrock International.
The project represents another investment in the Fund’s ethical recruitment portfolio and will focus on increasing the supply of ethically recruited migrants and migrant labor. After an extensive research and scoping period to understand the key drivers of exploitation among Bangladeshi migrant workers, GFEMS identified several opportunities with high potential for impact and replication. The development of SafeStep meets one of those key needs for migrant workers: high-quality support throughout the migration process. By coupling informational and educational content with actionable tools, SafeStep will empower workers to successfully and safely navigate their migration journey, with an emphasis on minimizing worker-paid fees and other avenues for exploitation.
SafeStep’s end-to-end support begins before a worker decides to migrate, with a budget calculator and educational content. These tools help migrants understand the potential cost of relocating for a job and provide accessible information on what to expect during the recruitment process. Support continues after a worker decides to travel, with a blockchain-enabled tool for migrants to upload and store documents like contracts, visas, and receipts for any fees paid. Finally, the app includes a help center where workers can report and receive support on issues or concerns in their migration process.
ELEVATE and its consortium partners centered design of the application on input from stakeholders, including migrants, sub-agents, and employers. Several cycles of user feedback will inform subsequent iterations of the app. Ultimately, SafeStep is designed to serve as a digital backbone for safe migration solutions, with potential to accommodate new features and functionality. SafeStep is initially focused on the migration corridor between Bangladesh and the Gulf, with built-in flexibility to adapt to other key migration corridors.
GFEMS looks forward to the ongoing partnership with ELEVATE, Diginex, and Winrock and to sharing learnings from early usage of this first-of-its-kind platform in Bangladesh. Learn more about the FCDO partnership, the Fund’s portfolio, and scoping research.