Story

Women learn while earning a living in Cambodia's garment factories.

03/07/2019
, Cambodia
01 - No Poverty
05 - Gender Equality
Description: 

Nearly 1,700 young women garment workers (90% of women) from 25 factories 

Before, I didn't know how to keep proper records, but after taking this course, I can count and accurately record the numbers for my work

Sreyleap, 25 years old, in charge of the inventory for the Sabrina clothing factory

In a fast-developing country, women are left behind

Cambodia has one of the fastest urbanization rates in Asia. The population of Phnom Penh has doubled in recent decades and the number of urban dwellers now stands at 21%. Most people migrating from the countryside to the cities are women who often have low literacy skills and come to work in factories. According to national figures, 85% of the 605,000 workers in garment and footwear factories are women, most of whom are under 30 years of age. About 50% of these workers have low or no literacy skills.

Providing women access to education

UNESCO's Factory Literacy Programme provides garment workers, most of whom are between 15 and 45 years of age, with basic functional literacy skills that enable them to better understand their rights. Taking place over a period of 4 to 6 months, the courses are given to the workers when they are available to learn. Literacy, numeracy and life skills are taught through interactive learning, such as group discussions, presentations, games and pair work. The program is part of Cambodia's Non-Formal Education Policy and Lifelong Learning Policy, which encourage employers to open literacy classes for workers.

UNESCO's programme bearing fruits

Nearly 1,700 young women garment workers (90% of women) from 25 factories in nine provinces successfully completed the Literacy Programme in the factory. This is recognized by the Cambodian government as equivalent to the 4th year of formal schooling. Teachers, teacher trainers, ministry officials, and employers also participated. In addition to acquiring literacy and numeracy skills, students reported that they had gained more confidence and comfort in everyday situations. Supervisors also noted improvements in their motivation, productivity, and employer-employee relations.Training materials have been developed to extend learning to all plants in Cambodia.

The government has encouraged the expansion of the program to other factories, proposing to allocate trained teachers. The program continues.

Empowering women in Cambodia

Context, Action, Impact

In a fast-developing country, women are left behind

Cambodia has one of the fastest urbanization rates in Asia. The population of Phnom Penh has doubled in recent decades and the number of urban dwellers now stands at 21%. Most people migrating from the countryside to the cities are women who often have low literacy skills and come to work in factories. According to national figures, 85% of the 605,000 workers in garment and footwear factories are women, most of whom are under 30 years of age. About 50% of these workers have low or no literacy skills.

Providing women access to education

UNESCO's Factory Literacy Programme provides garment workers, most of whom are between 15 and 45 years of age, with basic functional literacy skills that enable them to better understand their rights. Taking place over a period of 4 to 6 months, the courses are given to the workers when they are available to learn. Literacy, numeracy and life skills are taught through interactive learning, such as group discussions, presentations, games and pair work. The program is part of Cambodia's Non-Formal Education Policy and Lifelong Learning Policy, which encourage employers to open literacy classes for workers.

UNESCO's programme bearing fruits

Nearly 1,700 young women garment workers (90% of women) from 25 factories in nine provinces successfully completed the Literacy Programme in the factory. This is recognized by the Cambodian government as equivalent to the 4th year of formal schooling. Teachers, teacher trainers, ministry officials, and employers also participated. In addition to acquiring literacy and numeracy skills, students reported that they had gained more confidence and comfort in everyday situations. Supervisors also noted improvements in their motivation, productivity, and employer-employee relations.Training materials have been developed to extend learning to all plants in Cambodia. The government has encouraged the expansion of the program to other factories, proposing to allocate trained teachers. The program continues.

Providing women access to education

UNESCO's Factory Literacy Programme provides garment workers, most of whom are between 15 and 45 years of age, with basic functional literacy skills that enable them to better understand their rights. Taking place over a period of 4 to 6 months, the courses are given to the workers when they are available to learn. Literacy, numeracy and life skills are taught through interactive learning, such as group discussions, presentations, games and pair work. The program is part of Cambodia's Non-Formal Education Policy and Lifelong Learning Policy, which encourage employers to open literacy classes for workers.