Sustainability is embedded in all of our programs and initiatives. Since 2001, our generous donors have served as a strong foundation for our work, allowing us to establish operational systems and protocol; experiment with programs and new projects; field test tools to improve our services and programs; and incubate new ideas for future launch.
Our goal from the start has been to move toward a self-financed, locally-managed organization that exists on a cost-recovery model. We’re on track to meet that goal. Over the past 10 years, we’ve grown from a small organization of 14 staff members and a single mission – monitoring – to 30 staff members and three core programs that help Cambodia’s garment sector stay on track as a credible source for garments made in decent working conditions.
We’ve experienced successes and we’ve also learned some things along the way that will help us in our next phase of growth, including:
- The experience and insights of workers are a resource that we must continue to cultivate. As a result, we have initiated worker-focused projects including our “Experts by Experience” program and Garment Workers Open University.
- Monitoring alone does not always result in positive change. A robust training and advisory program now runs in conjunction with our monitoring program to offer guidance for factory management and to advance the skills of their staff, paving the way for improved working conditions.
- We have also learned that as an organization working for up to 400 factories and almost 400,000 workers, scalability is a vital aspect of our work. As a result, we increasingly aim for our activities and projects to reach the industry in its entirety.
As we continue to expand and adapt with an eye toward self-sufficiency and long-term viability, we plan to address gaps and become a better, stronger organization by:
- Increasing participation among a larger number of buyers who source from Cambodia in order to bolster our organizational capacity, reduce duplicate assessments and strengthen buyer leverage to help improve working conditions.
- Capitalizing on the institutional knowledge, and the critical and analytical perspectives of our many long-serving staff members to transition our organization into a locally-managed institution.