COVID-19 has resulted in significant loss of income for female garment workers, with many being suspended and losing their jobs. There are still a significant number of ex-garment workers who remain out of work. The current uncertainty of factory work is forcing many workers to find alternative ways to generate income, such as jobs in other sectors, small-businesses and agriculture. These are sometimes done in parallel to factory work or as a backup option. Workers are needing to constantly assess their situation and shift between these different forms of work. Throughout the pandemic, many workers have been struggling to find decent alternatives to factory jobs and face barriers to establishing small businesses for income generation. COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on Cambodia, with cases continuing to rise in Phnom Penh and throughout other areas of the country, resulting in the following:
- Many workers are working reduced hours with less overtime available, meaning they are earning less.
- Business pressure on factories makes abuse of worker’s rights more likely. For example union busting and discrimination including against pregnant workers.
- Workers facing suspensions and lay-offs are often not receiving their legal entitlements, including severance pay.
Proposed intervention component:
- Helping female workers whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19
- Increasing worker wellbeing and providing access to essential services, health support, and income.
To strengthen the economic resilience of female garment workers who are socially and economically marginalized in Cambodia to cope with the negative impacts of COVID-19.
Output 1: Female garment workers in their community have increased knowledge and skills to cope with the economic impacts of COVID-19
Output 2: The factory managers and leaders demonstrate improved commitment and take action to increase the knowledge of their workers (in their factories) to cope with the economic impacts of COVID-19.
The project will work through core approaches to achieve its aims:
- Deliver economic resilience TOT Training to factory training team, organizations and union leaders
- Conduct awareness-raising in the community focused on the workers
- Support flexibility and worker/group/organization initiatives to promote worker rights and economic resilience and access to alternative opportunities
- Deliver training on Prevention Sexual Harassment, Exploitation and Abuse and Child Protection (PSHEA/CP), Social Analysis Action (SAA), Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) tools, and financial management, and report writing
- Deliver TOT to factory training team on economic resilience and worker well being (WWB)
- Facilitate quarterly reflection with factory partners to learn from the progress though looking at achievements, challenges and identify areas for improvement.
These activities are part of the Made by Women project: Strengthening Economic Resilience for Female Garment Workers project, which is funded by Lululemon