Better Work is a global partnership of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), which unites the expertise of the ILO in labor standards with that of IFC in private sector development. It aims to improve the working conditions and promote competitiveness in global garment supply chains by assessing current conditions and offering customized advisory and training services to factories.
ASSIST implemented the project in Vietnam for 30 factories in four phases to collect information that will help Better Work assess whether/how to integrate environmental compliance into its labor compliance program.
Phase 1 is for the development and testing of a country guide and self-assessment tool that helps textile factories comply with country regulations and the conduct of a gap analysis between different standards including the Higg Index and IFC Performance Standards. Phase 2 covers the development and delivery of the training session for 30 Better Work participating factories. Phase 3 is for the provision of on-site advisory services while Phase 4 is for the delivery of all the tools developed and integration into Better Work’s well-established labor compliance program.
Industries in Vietnam have the potential to significantly reduce the material, energy and pollution intensity per unit of industrial output, bringing about a reduction of the overall ecological footprint, while improving productivity and competitiveness. Thus ASSIST, together with PUMA and DEG, implemented a Public-Private Partnership project to support Vietnamese factories from the textile, garment and leather sector in their efforts to achieve the three dimensions of sustainability: production efficiency, environmental management, and human development.
CONSERV aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, secure availabilities of natural resources, and minimize risks from waste and pollution, ultimately contributing to the realization of a green industry and a green economy. To achieve these objectives, the key interventions include (1) rollout of a strong awareness-raising campaign among decision makers through knowledge sharing forums, brochures and more; (2) capacity building workshops for practitioners and technicians; (3) developing a resource efficiency toolkit and body of knowledge for the sector; and (4) implementing energy audits and advisory for select companies.
The project ultimately resulted in the increased awareness among the factories on the need and importance of resource efficiency and waste management, enhanced local capacity on these topics, and sustainability of the project through effective communication. CONSERV capacitated over 500 professionals and technicians from various factories and extended its impact to over 200 textile, garment and leather factories.
Gujarat is one of India’s fastest growing states with petrochemical, chemical and pharmaceutical small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the forefront of major industries. Growth has resulted in job creation and prosperity, but also risks to human health and safety, through pollution brought about mishandling of hazardous chemicals. For a sustainable future, the state and its SMEs require safe, secure and environmentally sustainable development by implementing a responsible production approach in Gujarat.
SECURE Gujarat is a public-private partnership programme, established by DEG, UL-DQS India and ASSIST that aimed to initiate a switch to a Responsible Production framework and build capacity for target SMEs. Using UNEP’s Responsible Production approach, the project provided SMEs with the necessary tools to engage businesses, supply-chains, distributors, traders and buyers in accident prevention and emergency preparedness. The focus was to increase overall chemical safety and consequently reduce environmental impact in the operations of SMEs.
A clear demand for Responsible Production was identified in the chemical industries operating in Gujarat, and through the project, immense value was generated for companies. 395 key representatives from the chemical industries across two states participated in the CEO forums, and 64 professionals trained to become experts in Responsible Production implementation. Moreover, 8 organizations were provided with technical assistance to successfully implement Responsible Production, with 500 self-assessment toolkits distributed to local trainers, professionals, and organizations.
UNFPA launched Babaenihan in 2015, a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the pressing issues that impact on the health and well-being of Filipino women and girls, and how each member of society – from the community to the national government – can contribute to improving their future. It aims to raise awareness on the urgency of addressing teenage pregnancies through investments in education, health, and economic opportunities. The campaign is a partnership between UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) of the Philippines based on a mutual goal of empowering Filipino girls in marginalized communities.
ASSIST is providing UNFPA strategic support in producing the campaign’s multimedia requirements including the conceptualization and design of the full campaign strategy and plan, development and production of communications materials, and the execution of the campaign plan. The project also held a nationwide campaign launch and is empowering women through the anti-poverty program of the OVP called Angat Buhay.
The energy crisis in the Philippines incurs up to 23 billion pesos (0.17% of the GDP) in economic damages and has affected small and medium-sized buildings (SMBs) that struggle to address increases in power cuts. The crisis also affects public buildings like schools and hospitals. The accessRE project responds to the problem through the adoption of sustainable power systems, particularly solar panel installations in selected community-relevant SMBs.
The project introduces small-scale solar power solutions with capacities ranging from 3kWh to 7kWh that can save SMBs PHP 3,900 to PHP 9,100 per month with a return on investment period of about 2-5 years and an average lifespan of 20 years. Specific project activities include the conduct of (1) multi-sectoral dialogues and facilitation of local alliances; (2) pilot installations within SMBs amounting to 100kWp capacity; (3) establishment of a Technical Training Center; and (4) community awareness and promotion of low-cost energy alternatives. The project also seeks to achieve sustainability by building local capacity and providing education and employment opportunities for solar technicians and consultants through training and job placement sessions.
By the end of the project it would have reduced the stress on conventional energy sources through increased adoption of solar technology among SMBs, improved productivity within key establishments through uninterrupted power supply, established a regular pipeline of local green (solar) technicians for affordable solutions, and created positive impact and contributed to the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Road Map of the country.
A WHO-UN joint report in 2015 found that as many as 8.4 million Filipinos don’t have access to clean drinking water. These people collect water from unsafe and untreated sources and as a result, many are highly susceptible to water-borne diseases. SOURCe is a partnership with DEG and Vestergaard that aims to prevent waterborne diseases posed by untreated water sources in vulnerable rural areas through the provision of modern technology, training, and capacity building.
It was first implemented in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake and is now being replicated to remote villages in the Philippines. The goal is to distribute over 2,000 free water filters and to create awareness on safe drinking water and proper hygiene practices. The project has the following key interventions: (1) multi-stakeholder engagement with local government units, local organizations, and other organizations; (2) training of Community Clean Water Advocates (Philippines) and establishment of customer care centers (Nepal); (3) community awareness sessions; (4) school awareness programs on WaSH; (5) installation and distribution of LifeStraw Water Filters.
The project is still running in the Philippines and similar to the experience in Nepal, expects to result in increased demand for clean drinking water and strong community support meeting this basic need.
The Philippines is a regional leader in terms of establishing legal frameworks that protect the environment. Laws related to sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in the country include the Clean Air Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Clean Water Act, Biofuels Act and the Renewable Energy Act. Because SCP is a cross cutting issue, the implementation of SCP has remained challenging. The main objective of this EU-SWITCH project has been to support the government in implementing SCP related policy instruments including SCP related laws.
This project aimed to promote SCP in the country (i.e. environmentally and socially equitable development decoupling growth from resource use and pollution) and strengthen national and regional policy frameworks to promote the shift towards more SCP patterns and resource efficiency. ASSIST provided project management, visibility, communications, capacity building and technical assistance to the Department of Energy and other relevant agencies on renewable energy, energy efficiency and green procurement. ASSIST supported the development of an Energy Efficiency Roadmap, the DTI Green Public Procurement Action Plan, Life Cycle Assessment and a National Energy Efficiency Action Plan for the Philippines.
Small milk farmers play a crucial role in India, one of the world’s top milk markets. Unlike developed nations, in India, currently, 75-80% of milk production still comes from them. However, these farmers face issues that limit their productivity and make it difficult to increase their earnings. With an annual production of 164 million tonnes of milk, the dairy sector in India generates approximately USD 70 billion of revenue a year and is supposed to grow heavily. The past few decades have seen an increase in private sector investment in dairy farming, supply chain, processing facilities and backward integration. Dairy farming is also an important secondary source of income for 70 million rural households in India. These small dairy farmers are also suppliers to many private dairy companies. Most of these farmers lack capacity. They have an average herd size of 2-3 animals that produce only 2-6 litres of milk per cattle per day, just under a third of that in the west.
ASSIST is undertaking the following project with Lactalis – to establish two integrated model dairy farms; capacitate fifty local dairy farmers as cattle custodians to build local capacity and extend technical support; provide advisory support to ten pilot dairy farms of committed, progressive small dairy farmers and transform them into high-productive and profitable dairy farms; promote balanced cattle feed management and clean milk production among 150 dairy farmers; and establish a dairy support center which will have a registry of helpline numbers for farmers to access. It will also have a feed bank that will cater to the year-round supply of cattle feed.
India has the largest number of people with uncorrected vision, with over 500 million people needing vision correction, including 42% of the country’s workforce. A factor contributing to this trend is the lack of availability of qualified human resources especially, in rural areas.
Co-financed by DEG and Essilor Private Limited and implemented by ASSIST, Eye Mitra aimed to provide quality vision correction services at affordable prices for underprivileged rural people in India. The project also facilitated successful candidates to set up small businesses on their own to offer vision care services to rural communities at an affordable price. These micro-entrepreneurs were recognized as Eye Mitra Opticians (EMOs). The project also enabled rural households to access vision care and good quality spectacles (for those who need them) at affordable prices. Thus, the rural youth hitherto unemployed will get her / his livelihood through a more respectable self-employment. With the growth in business, she/he would further employ other rural youth at their own store as supporting hands thereby, creating a replication for self-employment generation in rural areas.
With Eye Mitra, five training centers were set up; 350 youth were skilled and 220 Eye Mitras were qualified; 150 Eye Mitra shops were opened sustaining more than 100 new jobs earning USD 600 per month per EMO; and more than 8000 people’s vision was corrected effectively.