Cambodian Center for Independent Media

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Cambodian Center for Independent Media: Speak out: voices from the Cambodian garment factories

Phnom Penh, CambodiaPhnom Penh, Cambodia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The project will increase participation of Cambodian female garment factory workers in decision-making processes enabling them to advocate with stakeholders and raise awareness of their rights and concerns in Cambodia and internationally in consumer countries through media and forums.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if Cambodian garment factory workers had the skills and media visibility to come together to advocate for their rights and to raise awareness among the Cambodian public, consumers and factory or brand owners about their day-to-day life and struggles?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Women play a critical role in Cambodia’s economic development, most notably in the garment industry, but they are largely unable to claim their rights to fair wages and working conditions and therefore fail to reap the economic and social benefits of development. Though Cambodian labor law is designed to protect workers, implementation is hindered by a dearth of political will and lack of safe platforms for workers to advocate for their rights.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We give female garment workers the skills and opportunities to advocate for their rights directly with relevant stakeholders locally and internationally. CCIM has previously established a group of garment worker citizen journalists (GCJs) who report to the media on their living and working conditions in order to generate evidence for the public, civil society and policymakers for use in decision-making and advocacy. This action aims to go further by producing advocacy materials such as video dramas and investigative reports on garment workers’ issues in order to raise widespread awareness. Additionally, GCJs will have the opportunity during forums to engage with representatives of labor unions, factories, brands and government.


Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

CCIM will bring together female garment workers with representatives from CSOs, factories, unions and government during dialogue forums focusing on women workers’ rights. During these events, women will have the chance to influence duty bearers, bridging the gap between duty bearers and rights holders on these issues. Investigative videos produced by CCIM’s VOD media outlet will highlight areas of concern raised by the women workers and will be will be screened during the forum, published online, and available for use in third-party advocacy efforts. A series of video dramas, also published online, will portray dramatic enactments of daily scenarios faced by women in the garment industry, mobilizing public support for workers’ rights.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

CCIM’s work has increased availability of information on the garment industry via reports by our skilled journalists and citizen journalists, which covered even the most sensitive topics. CCIM’s reports have focused on labor rights violations, including investigations that unveiled the appalling conditions faced by workers, and these reports have served as a basis for advocacy. CCIM’s existing relationships with workers and expert NGOs ensures a broad impact among policymakers and industry stakeholders – who will be mobilized to negotiate with workers about labor rights violations and other challenges encountered by the workforce. Attainment of human rights standards for workers will serve as a catalyst for achieving national development goals, and CCIM will contribute to those goals with its own expertize in the media sector and through cooperation with local and international CSOs.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The expected impact is to increase dialogue between garment workers and industry decision-makers, enhancing working conditions and rights. Targeted workers will serve as role models for other vulnerable workers, motivating them to report labor abuses and to negotiate directly with relevant stakeholders. The increased number of garment workers acting as citizen journalists will enable a stronger network to advocate for their labor rights as well as human rights in general. This trend can be extended to other sectors prone to human rights abuses, gathering citizens and empowering them to change

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

CCIM is laying the groundwork for beneficiaries to claim their human rights both during and after the project. Project sustainability is further ensured by CCIM’s actions aimed at improving access to information and building the independence of Cambodian media, as it will produce information needed for citizens to make informed decisions. CCIM earns 30% of its annual budget via ad income on its news outlets and the rest is finance through grants

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Besides CCIM, only a few NGOs or unions are focusing on women garment workers in Cambodia. Despite the fact that the garment industry is the cause of many human rights challenges including low pay and dire working conditions, this sector is so important for Cambodian’s economy that it is highly politically sensitive to challenge, investigate or advocate for labor rights. CCIM started to train women workers as citizen journalists in 2013. The proposed action expands on previous achievements aimed at gathering as many actors possible to discuss and find solutions workers’ challenges.

Founding Story

The Cambodian Center for Human Rights, a fixture of the Cambodian rights movement, started the Voice of Democracy (VOD) radio program in 2003, with the aim of increasing citizens’ access to independent information. In 2007, the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) was created to oversee the operations of VOD, which was transitioning into a full-fledged news outlet. Today, CCIM runs two radio stations with a potential listenership of 8.5 million and a popular online news outlet, VOD Hot News. CCIM is one of Cambodia’s leading advocate for the rights to press freedom and access to information


As of September 2015, CCIM employed 68 staff members – including 20 women – and most of them were working in the media teams as reporters, photographers, editors and producers. CCIM has 4 departments: Media Production; Finance & Administration; Resource Mobilization & Communication; and Projects. CCIM’s Board of Directors, composed of 5 members, is the governing board and has a role in financial oversight. Information about the annual budget, expenses, income and audit reports are regularly shared with the Board. CCIM’s Management Committee, composed of the Executive Director and the directors of each of the organization’s 4 departments, is responsible for day-to-day decision-making. All management members have extensive experience and skills in their field, and some have been with CCIM since its founding. CCIM also has a network of 86 citizen journalists across the country who are trained to report and submit tips on human rights abuses. For this project, the Projects Department will be in charge of the overseeing quality implementation of the activities while the Media Department will be dealing with the realization of the media actions, using its current human resources and materials.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Manufacturing, Consumption.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Non-profit Staff.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Consumers, Factory Workers, Factory Owners, Women.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Accountability, Conscious Consumerism, Labor Rights (i.e. Collective Bargaining, etc.), Physical Working Conditions.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Advocacy, Capacity Building, Media.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being, Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?


If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?

This project targets specifically the apparel industry

Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

By training garment workers to be able to report their issues, CCIM is empowering them to change the Cambodian society.

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

CCIM partners with local/ regional CSOs working with similar target groups including ILO and UN agencies in Cambodia.