Better Work Nicaragua

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Region/Country:
Project Duration:
January 2009
-
December 2018
Funding and Year:
FY
2009
: USD
2,000,000
FY
2012
: USD
2,500,000
FY
2014
: USD
550,000
FY
2016
: USD
500,000
FY
2017
: USD
550,000

Better Work is a comprehensive program that brings together all levels of the apparel industry to improve working conditions and respect of labor rights for workers, while boosting the competitiveness of apparel businesses. As a result of their participation with Better Work, export apparel factories in Nicaragua have improved compliance with labor law including issues of compensation, contracts, occupational safety and health and working time. By enhancing working conditions, Better Work Nicaragua increases the factories’ productivity and profitability.

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The Problem

Harsh working conditions in apparel factories have been at the center of a large and growing debate about globalization and labor standards for years. Low wages, long hours, high temperatures, excessive noise, poor air quality, unsanitary conditions, and abuse (both verbal and physical) are often cited as evidence of non-compliant labor practices.

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Our Strategy

Better Work Nicaragua combines labor monitoring and training to apparel factories. By monitoring export apparel factories' compliance with international labor standards, Better Work informs major brands and buyers of labor conditions in each factory. Brands want to work with factories that will protect their reputation, so the program becomes a “race to the top” for increasing conditions, productivity and provide good jobs.  The program also educates workers and managers on labor rights and responsibilities, and provides a space for factory level dialogue between management and workers.

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Results

Better Work Nicaragua is currently operating in 31 factories, benefiting 37,616 workers that represent 71% of the industry’s workforce. Of those workers, 52% are women.

Grantee: International Labor Organization (ILO)
Implementing Partners: International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4900
/
Office of Trade and Labor Affairs (OTLA)