As of March 25, authorities in Ethiopia have enacted a string of measures to contain the coronavirus infection, including the closure of all borders, a ban on large gatherings and restrictions on overcrowded public transport to guarantee social distancing.
The country’s apparel factories continue to operate, with roughly 20 COVID-19 cases confirmed as of March 30.
The government has set up an inter-ministerial task force led by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to address the health, social and economic emergency. Meanwhile, Better Work Ethiopia has been discussing with the country’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs how to support the Ministry and the Industry Park Development Corporation (IPDC) in its response.
The goal for Better Work is to reach out to all garment workers through posters, brochures and flyers regarding COVID-19 and ways to avert contagion. The program has already started conducting awareness-raising sessions via video calls with all of its affiliated factories. Virtual meetings and advisory services are meant to help factories understand the impact of COVID-19, while also clarifying international and national labour standards and laws that need to be followed at the time of crises. The calls are also set to ensure business continuity and provide support to all of the factories registered with the programme.
The program is also supporting the MOLSA through the creation of a list of frequently asked questions regarding policies regulating worker severance and forced leave.
Partners will soon roll out a communication campaign, explaining the basics of COVID-19 and how to limit contagion.
BWE will continue to collaborate with international and local stakeholders throughout the health crisis to ensure decent work and the safety to the workers in the context of the unfolding crisis response.