Assessment Findings from the Child Rights Situation in Ethiopia’s Garment Manufacturing Industry

Since our last post about our child rights risk assessment in Ethiopia’s garment manufacturing industry with Save the Children and advisory firm Ripple Research, we are now pleased to share a summary of the assessment results to help shed light on key child rights challenges in Ethiopia’s garment manufacturing industry which took place in the latter part of 2021. 


What did the assessment entail? 


  • Visited six factories in Oromia and Addis Ababa

  • Conducted in-depth interviews with six factory HR managers on their internal management systems and practices

  • Conducted quantitative surveys with 38 female workers in six factories

  • Conducted six Focus Group Discussions (FGD) with 28 female parent workers in six factories

  • Carried out in-depth interviews with representatives from Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI), Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and ZELS Management Consulting (ZELS) who have vast knowledge on the garment industry


What were the key findings? 


Insufficient wages: 92% of all workers (96% of parent workers) who joined the assessment said their wage does not cover the basic expenses for themselves and their families. None of the workers could put money aside for savings. 


Lack of affordable and quality childcare options and education: In 5 out of the 6 FGDs, workers said they find it challenging to provide care for young children when they work, and only one of the assessed factories was in the process of setting up a childcare facility. The majority of the workers felt the public schools were not good, but couldn’t afford the private school alternative. 


Insufficient maternity protection: While all interviewed workers who had babies were able to take paid maternity leave, in 3 out of 6 FGDs, workers said there are no special protection measures for pregnant workers (no change in job positions or working hours). 


No opportunities for young workers to be hired: None of the six factories recruit workers between 15-17 years old (even though the national min. working age is 15). Four factories have set the min. age to work in the factory at 18 years old, one factory set it at 19, and one at 26 years old.  


Gap in family-friendly policies: among the issues identified were lack of breastfeeding facilities and breaks at work, lack of parental leave leading to pay cuts when parents have to take time off to care for sick children, and mandatory overtime. 


Electricity and water issue in living quarters: In 4 out of 6 FGDs, workers mentioned they face issues with electricity, while in 3 FGDs workers said that it is hard to get water


These findings lay the foundation for recommendations covering the supply chain level and the national level, from which different stakeholders (e.g. international and domestic buyers, manufacturing factories, government institutes and development partners) can develop action plans to effectively tackle and improve child rights in the garment industry in Ethiopia.


If you would like to find out more about this assessment or how we can support your supply chains in Ethiopia or other countries, please contact us

Published on 23/03/2022

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