Better Work rolls out flagship program in Sri Lanka
Better Work says the aim of its efforts in Sri Lanka is to strengthen the garment industry as it recovers from the pandemic and work towards a future of greater resilience, efficiency and sustainability.
The Better Work team will work closely on the initiative with national partners – government, employers, workers and their organisations. Traditional Better Work factory services, such as conformity assessments at individual manufacturers, will not be offered in Sri Lanka.
The garment industry is the largest exporter in the Sri Lankan economy and employs a majority of women. Covid-19 has slowed growth, but the industry started to recover in 2021 to reach US$5.1 billion and has an ambitious goal to grow to US$8 billion by 2025.
“This flagship program could not have come at a more appropriate time, as the country and the industry begin to recover and rebuild from the pandemic. Using Better Work’s extensive experience, tools and partnerships, I am confident that the program will succeed in exemplifying what a human-centred recovery means, with greater industry competitiveness and decent work for all. said Simrin Singh, ILO firefighter for Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Better Work Sri Lanka will focus its interventions on:
- Safety and health at work, in the context of the management and recovery of Covid-19, including the use of risk assessments, strengthening of management systems, leadership training and training of trainers, and awareness campaigns promoting improved mental health and well-being.
- Gender, Diversity and Inclusion, including leadership skills training and career development for female workers, implementation of the ILO C190 toolkit on workplace harassment and violence, and facilitation of access to health care. health related to pregnancy, childcare and maternity protection.
- Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), including leadership and financial literacy training for SME management, implementation of a plant improvement toolkit including management systems and productivity interventions, and increased visibility with supply chain partners.
The work builds on existing initiatives. Better Work’s presence in Sri Lanka began with its Academy initiative which involved engaging one of the country’s largest denim manufacturing groups, Orit Apparels Lanka, and its partner company Levi Strauss, on improving the workplace cooperation and dialogue between workers and managers.
The most recent efforts also complement existing support IFC has provided to the apparel sector, including the SheWorks initiative that works with major apparel manufacturers to advance gender equality in the workplace.
With a presence on the ground in 12 countries on three continents, Better Work brings together diverse groups – governments, global brands, factory owners, unions and workers – to improve working conditions in the garment industry and make the sector more competitive.
Better Work programs in major garment producing countries adapted their training and outreach in response to the Covid-19 crisis last year.