Inclusive National Social Protection Initiatives that Response to the Needs of Apparel Industry Employees (INSPIRE)

Background

INCLUSIVE SOCIAL PROTECTION is critical to achieving gender equality and poverty reduction effort in Cambodia. Social protection has taken policy momentum in Cambodia. The Royal Government of Cambodia has recently initiated several social protection schemes, National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in particular, which greatly benefit apparel industry employees. Through this scheme, NSSF reported that in 2020 alone a total of 80,000 female garment workers received maternity allowances from the government which accounted for USD$7.9 million. 

The National Social Protection Council (NSPC) also reported that approximately 300,000 female workers both in formal and informal sectors, who have given birth in the past four years, between January 2018 to March 2022 benefited from cash support which accounts for US$30.1 million. And at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic in Cambodia, workers who were laid-off also received support in the forms of cash-based transfer programmes. And a total of at least 560,000 households with an IDPoor card benefited from this scheme in 2020 alone

Building on these efforts to address social inequality, Oxfam in Cambodia, Laudes Foundation, and other four partners launched “Inclusive National Social Protection Initiatives that Respond to the Needs of Apparel Industry Employees” (INSPIRE) to support the Royal Government of Cambodia to strengthen inclusive social protection for apparel industry employees.

Oxfam and partners are committed to support the Royal Government of Cambodia to build and enhance inclusive social protection in the Kingdom. This endeavour will help to further leverage the NSSF and address the remaining barriers to social protection among apparel industry employees, particularly workers in sub-contracted factories. These include limited access to information about social protection schemes and benefits, lack of compliance amongst apparel industry employers, and the quality of services provided and available to apparel industry workers. 

Objective

The primary objective of INSPIRE is to contribute to poverty and inequality reduction efforts amongst apparel industry employees in Cambodia through the strengthening of an inclusive social protection system. This project will strategically contribute to positive improvement of coverages of and access to gender transformative social protection for apparel industry workers. INSPIRE aims to strengthen the capacity of trade unions to better represent and negotiate workers’ social protection needs and entitlements, and to influence social protection policy outcomes through their meaningful participation in multi-stakeholder dialogues and decision-making meetings at national level, tripartite dialogues, Social Protection for All Platform, and other Oxfam’s existing mechanism.

How it supports implementing and strategic partners? 

“Inclusive National Social Protection Initiatives that Respond to the Needs of Apparel Industry Employees” (INSPIRE) is a collaborative effort between Oxfam in Cambodia and Laudes Foundation along with four implementing partners. This endeavour will be jointly implemented by four local NGO and trade unions, such as Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL), Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC), Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU), and Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU). 

We will also be working closely with several strategic partners, such as National Social Protection Council (NSPC), National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT), Ministry of Economy and Finance (MoEF), Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), international brand companies and apparel industry employers, and other stakeholders to strengthen and safeguard inclusive social protection for apparel industry employees across the Kingdom.

The primary objective of INSPIRE is to contribute to poverty and inequality reduction efforts in Cambodia through the strengthening of an inclusive social protection system. This project will strategically contribute to positive improvement of coverage of and access to gender transformative social protection for apparel industryworkers. INSPIRE will strengthen the capacity of trade unions and workers to better represent and negotiate workers’ social protection needs and entitlements. They will also be supported to influence social protection policy outcomes through their meaningful participation in multi-stakeholder dialogues and decision-making meetings at national level, tripartite dialogues, Social Protection for All Platform, and other Oxfam’s existing mechanisms.

The intervention of this initiative will help Cambodia getting closer to achieving Sustainable Development Goals such as no poverty, good health and well-being, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities, and peace, justice, and strong institutions. 

How was this endeavour developed?

INSPIRE was developed by several consultation meetings and workshops with partners and representatives of apparel industry employees, trade unions and associations starting from April 2020 to the early March 2021. The consultation had adopted right based and participatory approaches to strengthen share ownership and responsibilities, local champion, and development. The concept note and project intervention were then consulted amongst local experts and those across Oxfam affiliates. More importantly, it was informed by a research study entitled, “Social Protection For The Apparel Industry in Cambodia: Gaps and Opportunities”, which was jointly commissioned by Oxfam in Cambodia and the Laudes Foundation. 

These have demonstrated Oxfam’s commitment to inclusiveness, participatory approach, and local ownership where communities and partners have a fair say and that their inputs were integrated into the project intervention, on top of research finding and recommendation. 

Outcomes

Expected results

This initiative will enable apparel industry workers across 14 provinces and municipalities to better access to social protections provision and coverage, information about social protections, including upholding service providers more accountable to their constituents. It will also support the Royal Government of Cambodia to integrate gender transformative social protection approach into its social protection policy intervention.

Through the intervention of this project, apparel industry workers, particularly those in sub-contracts and in informal arrangements, and their households will be able to reduce their vulnerability by having better access to NSSF provisions and coverages. This project is expected to benefit a total of 23,000 individuals directly and 735,000 indirectly. More importantly, it is anticipated that approximately 1,000,000 individuals will be sensitised by public awareness campaigns, policy brief and position papers, evidence-based research, and other communication activities of the project.

 


Funded by
Laudes Foundation

Implementing partners

Strategic partners 

Start-end-date  
20 December 2021- 31 March 2025
 

Key media coverage

Op-ed

Launching of Oxfam and Laudes Foundation Initiative to Promote Inclusive Social Protection for Apparel Employees in Cambodia, 23 May 2022

Promoting Women Entrepreneurship in ASEAN through Social Protection and Family Care Policies, 7 September 2022