International Multipliers’ Seminar, Chisinau, October 16-17, 2014

The second year of the project Fit for Fair highlight has been MDG3 and the empowerment of women. How this issue finds its place in the project oriented to the fairness of labour at the garment sector was discussed at the Multipliers’ Seminar on Fit for Fair project which took place in the beautiful capital of Moldova, Chisinau.
Friday 28 November 2014

The event gathered participants from the six partners’ countries and organizations working on Fit for Fair project (Moldova, Germany, Slovakia, the UK, Bulgaria and Romania) as well as multipliers, journalists, trade union activists and official institutions representatives from Moldova to discuss and present efforts and targets in empowering women in the context of the project activities.

There were various presentations giving different perspectives on the issue of women’s empowerment in different societies and social groups. Solutions to removing stereotypes in treating women at the work place, home or in politics were sought in doubling efforts in education, labour rights defense and advocacy, enhancing communication between institutions, NGOs and workers.

The seminar gave floor to trade union leaders from Chisinau, Deputy Minister of Labour, Social Protection and Family and other notable social figures from Moldova.

What can be named as a pure success for the whole of the project principles and activities was the breakthrough the German team from CIR scored at taking a former garment worker from a factory in Central America to speak in front of the board of directors of Adidas and make her voice is heard.

A memorable visit was organized by the hosts to a sewing plant in Chisinau, where it was plain that standards and norms of labour and healthy conditions were apparently observed. Still, project partners agreed a lot was to be done for meeting the criteria of fair living wage. The plant produced for international brands only, participants at the seminar had the rare chance to speak with the manager of the factory and monitor the process of production.

In the course of discussions the different partners presented their views and approaches to sensitizing the broad consumers’ public to the lives and problems of the underpaid garment workers who sew for companies like Adidas, Puma, Nike etc.

Some of the most popular means for awareness raising and advocacy turned out to be distributing beer mats promoting labour rights and fair labour, reaching to football fans through leaflets featuring World Cup matches timetables as well developing role play games for teenagers presented at schools with focus on fairness at profit distribution from garments production. The LBL(UK) shared innovative ideas which are deemed to success in informing the public about the quality of labour behind each piece of clothing at stores – the British suggested that a mobile application would be devised to show how ‘clean’ and green clothes are.

Last but not least conversations and presentations tended to mention in much or less detail Global Education as a powerful tool for turning global minds into the direction of finding smart solutions to global issues, as means for reducing inequality, poverty, illiteracy and consumerism through the power of knowledge, wit, generosity and reason.

Irina Veleva

GERT, Bulgaria