Worker Empowerment

How Amader Kotha is Helping One Factory Resolve Safety Issues

The Alliance launched a 3rd party worker Helpline – called Amader Kotha (“Our Voice”) – in July 2014. It has been rolled out to 371 factories and will be introduced in the remaining Alliance factories as part of our upcoming fire safety refresher training (to be launched this fall). Since December 2014, we have received 25,256 total calls, of which 2,218 were related to substantive issues (while most of the other calls were informational or test calls made during factory trainings). The top five issues related to safety for both urgent and non-urgent calls are listed in the table below. safety 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What We Learn Through Spot-Checks – the Good and the Bad

By Nurul Azam and Quamrunnessa Babli

With our use of a Train-the-Trainer model to implement the Alliance Basic Fire Safety Training, unannounced spot-checks are very important for ensuring that factories are following through with their commitment to train all workers. Through our training program, each Alliance factory nominates representatives (consisting of both workers and managers) to be trained as Alliance Fire Safety Facilitators, who are then tasked with training the rest of their workforce. The quality of the training therefore relies heavily on the skills of these fire safety facilitators and the support they receive from management to conduct the training according to guidelines. (more…)

Amader Kotha: The Factory Perspective

By Quamrunnessa Babli and S.M. Nurul Azam

In December, we invited Alliance factory representatives to share their experiences with the Alliance Worker Helpline, Amader Kotha. The helpline provides workers a number to call if they want to report safety concerns, with the calls answered by live operators. Since July 2014, the helpline has been introduced to nearly 300 factories through trainings where (1) workers learn when to use the helpline and receive materials with the helpline number, and (2) factorie2014-12-10 16.30.16s provide internal contacts that helpline representatives call if issues are reported from their factory.  When we first launched, some factories were not eager to participate – though many supported the use of the helpline for safety issues, they were also concerned that workers might abuse it to report other concerns (or even false allegations). Five months and 6,000+ calls later, we invited factories back into the Alliance office to give us their feedback on the helpline, both the good and the bad. Here are some key findings that came out of that conversation. (more…)

Ms. Akhi Akter: A Fire Safety Ambassador in her Factory

At the Social & Environmental Excellence Awards on December 9th, I was extremely proud of one award the Alliance presented – the award for Best Trainer to Ms. Akhi Akter. A newly promoted Assistant Cutting Supervisor (previously working as Sr. Cutting Operator) at the Hop Yick (Bangladesh) Limited factory, Akhi received this award for her outstanding performance as a Fire Safety Worker Representative in her factory.

Akhi is one of several representatives from her factory who participated in the 2-day Alliance’s Basic Fire Safety Train-the-Trainer program, where 3rd Master Trainers taught her, her colleagues, and representatives from other factories to deliver the 3-hour in-factory Basic Fire Safety Training. (more…)

Ready for the Challenges Ahead

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As the Alliance team has been busy preparing for the 2nd International Building & Fire Safety Expo, launching a training for security guards, and meeting with factories on how to remediate issues found through safety inspections, few are aware that we’re also about to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of the Alliance Dhaka office. We opened the office with six staff on December 9, 2013. Just one year later, our team has grown to a team of over 40 and we’ve doubled the size of the office – testament to both the work we’ve accomplished over the last 12 months and the work that still lies ahead. (more…)