COVID-19 has resulted in significant loss of income for female garment workers – with many being suspended and losing their jobs. While factories have started to open again, there are still a significant number of ex-garment workers who remain out of work. Workers who have jobs in the factories currently have very precarious jobs. Strengthening Economic Resilience of female garment workers during COVID-19 (SER) is an emergency response project worked to support laid-off workers and returned migrants in need by providing alternative education system through capacity building to increase the knowledge and skills of workers to cope with the economic stress created by COVID-19. SER has provided the Training of Trainer on Economic Resilience to approximately 10 or 15 peer educators in Phnom Penh and then they can deliver the training sessions to workers in their communities. The training sessions covering a set of core topics Government and factory stipend, NSSF benefits, financial literacy and decision-making, Stress management, and the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV) and Sexual Harassment. The project also aims to connecting workers to employment opportunities along with unconditional cash assistance to support the most marginalized and
vulnerable workers participating in the project. About 1,003 and 80% of women who participated in the project have increased knowledge and skills to cope with the economic impacts of COVID19 and with improved access to skills building and alternative livelihood opportunities.
The project prioritise working with female garment workers who are socially and economically marginalised during the pandemic. This includes ex-garment workers who have lost their jobs, suspended and those who are working but on reduced
working hours and income.
Proposed Intervention Component:
- Provide training to female garment workers to increased knowledge and skills to cope with the
economic impacts of COVID-19
- Flexible cash support for the most marginalized workers
- Female garment workers have improved access to skills building and alternative livelihood
opportunities by connecting to employment opportunities.
Proposed Intervention Component:
Deliver the training of trainer (ToT) training to new peers on government and factory stipend and other benefits for workers, including NSSF benefits, financial literacy and decision-making, stress management, the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV) and Sexual Harassment.
- Organise a job fair workshop to female workers to support them to access to job opportunity;
and provide coaching to peers members to increase confidence in delivering the lesson to the
females factory workers
- Facilitate the every six months reflection meeting with peers members to share learning and
challenges and support peers members to facilitate the awareness for the factory workers on
the awareness raising to workers
Financial literacy and decision making help women build economic resilience during the Covid-19
“It was difficult for me to manage the budget for my family. I could not provide what is needed for my family, and we couldn’t afford healthy meal. Having attended the awareness training allowed me to gained new knowledge related to financial literacy and NSSF benefits. The $85 cash enabled me to buy new bicycle for my children to ride to school and attend classes on time. I’m happy that the project helped me to get new knowledge and skills that benefits my daily life,” said — Thea Sreynat (a garment tailor at Hong Wa factory).
“During this COVID pandemic, I was worried about my pregnancy delivery. I stayed at home because I was closed to my due date, and my husband earns income alone. I was concerned that I would not have enough money for the delivery. Then I was selected to get a small grant of 85$. Now I don’t have to worry about the money to pay for my delivery. I also joined the project as a peer, and I learned about sexual harassment prevention which is new for me. Now, I can protect myself if someone harass me,” said Heng Sreynoun.