Better Factories (Cambodia)
Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) was established in 2001 to improve working conditions and productivity in the Cambodian garment sector. BFC successfully combines the assessment of working conditions and relevant remediation and training activities in a continuous cycle of improvement. It operates with the collaboration of the Government, the Garment Manufacturers' Association of Cambodia (GMAC) and trade unions, and works closely with other stakeholders, including international buyers.
At the global level, BFC is credited with improving working conditions and compliance with international labour standards; promoting bipartite and tripartite social dialogue at enterprise and sectoral levels and nationally; contributing to the growth of Cambodian industry after the expiry of the Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA); contributing to reducing poverty; mitigating the vulnerability of women garment workers; improving the reputation of the Cambodian garment industry as an ethical sourcing place; and improving workplace cooperation, which in turn has an impact on quality and productivity.
The Cambodian garment industry employs nearly 300,000 workers in some 300 factories, who are predominantly female (90%). Most of the workers come from the countryside at a young age, with relatively low education levels.
Workers earn up to $100 a month with overtime and bonuses. Typically they remit a part of their salaries to their families and retain only a very small sum for their upkeep and everyday needs. The programme has raised tens of thousands of poor rural families out of poverty.
> Read more on the :Better factories programme
> Video: Protecting Maternity in Cambodia’s Textile Factories
> Video: Cambodian Labour Law Soap Opera: A Hit
From war to peace through decent work (Liberia)
Following demobilization a project to increase women’s employment promoted female-owned and managed companies and SMEs, which received business management training and facilitated access to credit (16,000 out of a total of 55,000 work days were performed by women) to kick-start their waste collection businesses. Other project components included outreach programmes to train women workers and entrepreneurs in leadership, negotiation and conflict resolution skills, and the National Gender Network of Liberia was established.
This good practice can be attributed to the active role that government, workers and employers played in programme and policy formulation centred on job creation. Through the National Tripartite Council the social partners undertook four regional consultation initiatives on the Draft Decent Work Bill, which enabled rural inhabitants and other stakeholders to make proposals for the draft bill as part of ongoing efforts to develop a balanced labour code with extensive local ownership throughout the country.
> Video: Waste Collection in Liberia
Promoting Green Jobs
In 2008 Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Haiti, India, the Philippines, and Somalia participated in a Green Jobs Programme aimed at filling the knowledge gaps, contributing to policy formulation and assisting member countries to green their economy through the implementation of Decent Work Country Programmes. It currently concentrates on five priorities: (i) tools to diagnose labour needs and inform policy; (ii) practical approaches to greening enterprises;(iii) the promotion of green jobs in waste management and recycling; (iv) green jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency; (v) job creation and enterprise development as part of the adaptation to climate change.
The Programme also addresses the adaptation and social protection needs of enterprises and workers affected by the production and consumption shifts involved to achieve a low carbon, sustainable economy. It is active in an increasing number of countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
Developed countries are also looking into lowering their emissions and contributing to a greener economy. To strengthen growth potential and move to a low-carbon society, Japan plans to invest 100 trillion yen in green projects by 2015, which would create more than 2 million jobs in environmental businesses.
> Read more on the Green jobs programme of the ILO
Brazil’s Bolsa Família: Conditional cash transfers for social and economic development
The Bolsa Família (“family stipend”) was launched in 2003 and is generally considered to be the largest conditional cash transfer programme in the world. It resulted from the merger of four existing cash transfer schemes. In 2009 it covered some 12.4 million families (estimated to number 50 million people), corresponding to about one-quarter of Brazil’s population. The budget for the programme in 2009 was US$ 5.9 billion (0.4 per cent of GDP).
The programme has a number of specific objectives: (a) to reduce current poverty and inequality, by providing a minimum level of income for extremely poor families; and (b) to break the inter-generational transmission of poverty by making these transfers conditional on the compliance by beneficiaries with “human development” requirements (for example, children’s school attendance, attendance at vaccination clinics, and arrangement of pre-natal visits).
A recent change to the programme has been its integration with the Child Labour Eradication Programme (PETI).
Approximately 450,000 families have been identified that include children who are working, and in 2008 the programme addressed the needs of 875,000 children. This has led to particularly close monitoring of the condition that families must ensure their children’s attendance at school. A useful side-effect of the programme has been that it has enhanced the concept of citizenship by requiring registration and formal certification of many otherwise undocumented residents. Similar programmes have been implemented in several other countries, a successful example being the Oportunidades programme in Mexico, the first to be implemented on a national scale.
Women’s economic empowerment is crucial for poverty reduction
In over 25 countries programmes on Women’s Entrepreneurship Development and Gender Equality (WEDGE) have reduced poverty through the creation of decent work and women’s empowerment. In 2007 the programme reached over 10,000 women and 9,000 men, providing access to credit and training. Monthly profits of participants’ businesses increased their sales fourfold and their profits by 50 per cent. The SIYB (Start and Improve Your Business) strategy has reached 940,000 entrepreneurs, mostly women, over the last decade and has helped create over 1.2 million jobs.
The WED strategy has proved successful as a replicable model stimulating partnership formation between international organizations and development banks.
Thailand: Extending access to social security
In 2001 Thailand introduced a universal health care scheme, taking a radical step towards achieving full population coverage in health care. The universal care scheme has been crucial in extending social health protection to the poorest in society, especially informal economy workers, and has gone so far as to include legally registered migrant workers.
As of 2006-07 legal coverage for health insurance in Thailand reached almost 98 per cent of the population and total health expenditure represented 3.3 per cent of GDP. About 75 per cent of Thai citizens were covered under the universal care scheme and the remainder by pre-existing schemes targeting government employees, public sector workers and their dependants and private employees.
Thailand has developed both targeted and universal schemes, on a coordinated basis, successfully mobilizing a range of revenue sources, thus accelerating progress in increasing coverage, especially of the poor. 33 Out-of-pocket payments make up a significant proportion of total health expenditure (28.7 per cent in 2007, comprising 74.8 per cent of private health expenditure).
> Video: COOPERATIVES IN THAILAND
Youth employment in Mali
Mali has taken a wide range of steps to promote youth employment. The Directorate of Procurement prioritized the pursuit of labour intensive works programmes and between 2004 and 2008 almost 12 billion CFA francs (US$ 27 million) were channelled into youth employment activities.
The Government Agency for the Promotion of Youth Employment (APEJ) implemented a programme structuring training and job entry for young people which aimed to develop entrepreneurial skills and facilitate access to credit. A total of 5,625 young people received training under various schemes and 3,556 business plans were created. Credit was provided to 1,521 beneficiaries, leading directly to the creation of thousands of jobs.