Maeve Galvin of C&A Foundation argues that phone technology could transform conditions in the apparel supply chain if data is public and allows workers to have a voice

The power of technology lies in its ability to connect people and mobilise communities. Today, most garment industry workers have a phone in their hand. In recent years, I’ve been part of work exploring and learning about ways to give them a voice through that technology.

While technology has helped to bring about impressive changes in fields like health, agriculture, and political participation, we still have a lot to do in the garment industry.  Identifying how to use technology, and particularly mobile technology, to improve labour conditions has been slow.

I first learned how mobiles could help workers while I was working at the International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia programme. In 2013, we identified that workers in Cambodia all had mobile phones. With this, we saw an opportunity to reach thousands of workers.  But we had to find the right methodology: these were all basic phones and workers didn’t use them to text. We set up an interactive voice response programme called Kamako Chhnoeum, or Outstanding Worker. With minimal marketing, thousands of workers called Kamako Chhnoeum to learn about their rights, safety and personal health. We learned not only that workers had an appetite for information, but that...

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ICT  Cambodia  Turkey  C&A Foundation 

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