Using ICT To Protect Cambodia’s Labourers

At Geeks In Cambodia, we present you pieces on how ICTs can help businesses in Cambodia, and news such as the formation of the ICT Federation. This time round, we take a look at how ICT can have a positive impact on Cambodian labourers, and let the businesses take a backseat.

This initiative by Better Factories Cambodia uses an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to ask callers about their health, wages, benefits and workplace condition. Titled Kamako Chhnoeum (meaning “Outstanding Worker” in Khmer), it is held in a quiz format and focuses on labour law. This helps them to enrich their knowledge of labour rights, occupational safety and personal health.

It was established in September last year, and has received more than a whopping 50,000 calls to date. Incentives are provided to encourage more of these labourers to call in to the toll-free number. This is what one would hear when calling in:

‘’Hello and welcome to Kamako Chhnoeum! This call is free. Answer the following questions and your phone number will be entered into a lucky draw. You don’t need to get the correct answer to be eligible for the lucky draw.’’

It is a sort of information exchange – callers provide details about their work, and in return they can clarify any doubts regarding their work. For example, garment factory worker Srey Pov answered the first question incorrectly. This is because she did not know that she was entitled to ‘special leave’. In fact, a shocking 40% of callers were unaware of this as well.

To gain further insights, callers are asked to name their factories and record a message on any topic they would like (be it questions, feedback etc). Some of these comments included, “This factory doesn’t have drinking water for workers” and “The management forces workers to work overtime on Saturday”. Overall, 48% of comments were negative.

Another similar initiative is Verboice by InSTEDD. Previously, we mentioned Verboice helping those working in agriculture. It has many easy-to-use tools that allows you to design your program’s navigation sequence. All responses are collected automatically, and you can access them through your Verboice account.

It is great to see ICT helping all classes of society, and we look forward to sharing more of such initiatives!