June 22, 2018
Cambodia Country Director Pagna Kim presented at two national events this month to advocate for improved garment and footwear workers road safety. The commute of garment factory workers to and from work is becoming increasingly hazardous due to the continued use of unsafe and overloaded vehicles and the location of factories near increasingly busy national roads. An estimated 600-700,000 workers are directly employed in the garment and footwear sector in Cambodia and commute to and from the factory daily. In 2016, garment factory workers were involved in more than 12 crashes per day, and tragically 43 workers died.
Pagna addressed these growing concerns at an event organized by the Cambodia Microfinance Association, an NGO and professional association that aims to ensure the prosperity and sustainability of the microfinance sector in Cambodia. Over 30 participants attended the presentation, which focused on the risks that factory workers face each day on their commute to and from work and the impacts that a fatal crash has on financial businesses. These consequences include a loss in financial revenue and worker loan repayments.
A forum was also convened at The Asia Foundation, where Pagna appealed to the 50 stakeholders present to become more involved in road safety policy in Cambodia and to advocate for improvements to the current worker transportation methods in favor of a safer, regulated public bus system. Pagna presented key background information to the group on the garment and footwear workers’ situation and on the progress of our pilot program. Also suggested was the need for researchers to conduct further monitoring and studies into this issue. This would enable the road safety community to fully realize and address gaps within the current system of collecting road crash and financial impact information related to garment and footwear workers.
These presentations are part of a broader garment and footwear sector road safety strategy that we are implementing as part of a Transportation Working Group made up of development agencies and international garment and footwear brands. The group is also working with factories and other relevant stakeholders to implement a one year pilot program with targeted factories. Pilot results will inform factory-level and sector-wide recommendations.
View more photos from the presentations here.