July 1, 2020
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia–May – June 2020
As part of the global fight against COVID-19, AIP Foundation partnered with Solidarity Center and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to produce nearly 500 posters and 1,500 banners that promoted World Health Organization (WHO) approved methods to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in Cambodian garment factories. These materials were placed within 200 factories and on collective transport vehicles, which provide the mode of daily transport for many workers.
Building on AIP Foundation’s existing relationships with factories involved with the Commuting Safety for Cambodian Workers (CSCW) program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and in collaboration with Better Factories Cambodia and brands who participate in the Transportation Working Group, the COVID-19 health and safety campaign aligns the efforts of reducing potential transmission of disease and improving factory hygiene practices with overall greater factory workers’ safety and wellbeing.
According to Amcham Cambodia, Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with an 80 percent drop of exports in the first quarter of 2020, and predicted to plummet a further 50 – 60 percent in the second quarter. The beleaguered industry has stopped production in 256 factories, affecting more than 130,000 workers and their families.
The economic repercussions of COVID-19 on Cambodia’s biggest industry will be felt for years to come, but with appropriate hygiene practices applied in the remaining factories, preventative measures, and awareness-raising generated through a health and safety campaign, the footwear and garment sector can still provide safe employment for Cambodian workers.