Project profile

Sewing for a Brighter Future (SBF)

CARE Cambodia has worked with garment factory workers since 1998, concentrating on health, microfinance, labour rights and the elimination of violence against women.

 

  • 2003 - 2005 : Sewing for a Healthy Future - Preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Apart from this a small component funded by Levis focused on financial literacy. Strengthening Activity for Factory Education (SAFE) working group was created during this period. This is funded by USAID and Levis Strauss Foundation.

 

  •  2006 - 2009 : Sewing for a Healthy Future - Bridging the gap between the health system and garment factory communities. Levi’s funding focused on financial literacy. CARE, in partnership with a micro finance institution (MFI), provided training to peer educators on financial literacy and how to save, avail loans.

 

  • 2010 - Present : Sewing for a Brighter Future - Sexual & Reproductive Health, Maternal & Newborn Health, Financial Literacy, Nutrition & Hygiene, Sexual Harassment Prevention and HIV/AIDS  mainstreaming  at workplace.  

 

Of the approximately 700,000 Cambodian garment factory workers, many are young rural migrants living away from their families for the first time. Their lack of knowledge, life experience and family and social support has been found to exacerbate three key vulnerabilities:

 

  • Most are ill-equipped to navigate the complexities and risks of urban living. Many garment workers also become sexually active for the first time and lack the necessary skills and knowledge to protect themselves from health risks as well as exploitation, sexual coercion and rights abuses.

  • Despite intentions to send a significant proportion of their wages home, most garment workers are inexperienced with safe savings mechanisms, and their reliance on risky money lending, borrowing and remittance options, where theft, cheating and poor returns are commonplace, means they save and remit less than expected.

  • Many garment factory workers are not aware of their rights and responsibilities under national labour laws, leaving them vulnerable to misinformation and exploitation.

 

Committed to reducing these vulnerabilities, CARE Cambodia and the Levi Strauss Foundation have enjoyed a professional partnership. Since its inception in 2005, the "Sewing for a Healthy Future" project has expanded both in scope and reach. Now called "Sewing for a Brighter Future" and implemented in 6 factories, it currently focuses on increasing knowledge and appropriate service utilisation for garment factory workers related to sexual and reproductive health, maternal and newborn health, HIV/AIDS, nutrition & hygiene, sexual harassment and financial literacy. It also involves capacity building factory trainers to administer formal trainings and engagement of management and line leaders for buy-in and ownership of project implementation. 

 

Objective

In response to changes in the approach agreed to by CARE and LSF, SBF will aim to achieve the following specific objectives for the project period 2016-2017, all of which contribute to the overarching goal of empowering workers and improving their health and well-being:

 

  1. Achieve ownership of a worker well-being strategy and activities by suppliers, including promoting vendor WWB strategies, improving capacity of factory management across the WWB portfolio, and facilitating factory-led implementation plans.

 

  1. Strengthen existing policies, systems, and committees, to enable sustainable WWB initiatives.

 

  1. Raise awareness and improve behaviors of workers in terms of wellbeing, including linkages to essential services through factory-led activities.

 

Key activities

Sewing for a Brighter Future focuses on a number of key areas including: Improving workers’ sexual, reproductive and maternal health; Improving workers’ nutrition; Promoting financial literacy through a established factory trainer teams, having a mix of both peers and factory management. This involves;

  • Formal training approach and orientation

  • Factory Trainer capacity building

  • Management engagement to facilitate support and buyin, facilitation, support and encouragement 

  • Building capacities and steering attitudes of infirmary staff

  • Working with food vendors to improve worker access to healthy and hygienic food

  • Forming and capacity building sexual harassment committee.

 

 

Timeframe

December 2019-Nov 2020

 

Location

5 Garment factories in Phnom Penh and Kandal provinces.

 

Beneficiaries

Approximately 6,600 Cambodian garment factory workers.

Read more about this project's work

© CARE Cambodia 2018

CARE is an international development organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring sustainable changes to their communities. 

Defending dignity. Fighting Poverty.