Last month CARE Cambodia welcomed The Children’s Place to kick-off the organisation’s latest project within garment factories.
The retailer plans to work with CARE over the next three years to improve workers’ knowledge and awareness of nutrition so they can make informed decisions about their diet. Recent research has indicated workers take in about half as many calories as they should. As a result, as many as 1 in 3 workers are medically malnourished, 25% seriously so.
CARE plans to take a two-pronged approach, on one hand improving understanding of nutrition and hygiene among workers, while simultaneously working with factory management and food vendors to improve the availability of affordable, hygienic, nutritious food to workers. The activities will take place at five of the primary factories from which the company sources its garments in Phnom Penh and Kandal.
The project, titled Healthy Food, Healthy Workplace was launched at an event at the end of April. This saw garment factory managers join CARE and The Children’s Place to reflect on the nutrition situation in their factories and contribute to plans for the project.
During the event, CARE presented details on the nutrition situation among garment factory workers Cambodia and factory management summarised their ongoing initiatives related to worker health and well-being. Management worked together in small groups to identify existing problems and potential approaches to solving them, in order to inform project direction.
Marcus Chung, Vice President, Responsible Sourcing for The Children’s Place, said “The Children’s Place is pleased to partner with CARE on a pilot program to address worker nutrition in Cambodian garment factories. Research shows that one contributing factor to the “mass faintings” in Cambodian factories is poor nutrition. We hope a systems-based approach, which not only provides education to workers but also helps to identify opportunities for better hygiene and nutrition with food vendors, can help to make real progress on this issue. Our goal is to test a few interventions, with the idea that we can scale a standard that will apply for the Cambodian garment industry as a whole.”
CARE has been working in Cambodian garment factories since 1998. In 2015, CARE worked with over 75 garment factories in Cambodia and continues to engage with workers, management and retailers to ensure women in Cambodia have access to dignified work opportunities.