YES Services for Decent Work

YES Services for Decent Work: Improving Factory Sustainability through informed Accountability of the Workers

Siem Reap, CambodiaSiem Reap, Cambodia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Awareness, combined with Equipment, creates space for Involvement. Involvement is fueled by Engagement which gives foundation to Accountability. Here you have your Smooth Management with Increased Productivity and Tighter Loyalty. Want to give a try? Just say, YES!

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

What if empowering bottom line workers were even more profitable to companies?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The approximate 700Kworkers of Cambodia’s garment industry are hardly accessible (in their working environment) since employers fear being publicly blamed for substandard practices, while the isolation generates higher risk of exploitation. The very poor awareness of bottom line workers on labor rights and social protection makes their claims hard to answer by a confused management and decreases the productivity potential in degree and quality.

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

Staff accountability improves work conditions and culture while it up-skills employees to a cost-effective and committed productivity. The tailored trainings for workers address lack of knowledge on labor rights, ability to speak up and collectively negotiate, planning and activate for social protection, tackling teamwork obstacles, taking individual responsibility for the entirety of the working environment. The training is in line with international social accountability accreditation but not linked to monitoring bodies that might threaten their acceptance by employers. Trainings are an investment for employers by covering soft skills and basic factory processes that ensure improved productivity, reduced turnover and improved bottom line.
Impact: How does it Work

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

This project was piloted through the training of 400+ workers in a garment factory in Siem Reap.The 9days training ensured workers with basic knowledge of their rights, workplace health&safety practices and company policies. On the last day of training the majority of trainees considered themselves as the root of a tree while describing the factory organization, as opposed to the first day they considered themselves only as individual who happened to work there.The employers have reported an increase in teamwork and smoother communication and transitions throughout factory productive processes. They measured better productivity, happier staff and less sick leave taken while more inquiries are filed about pay slip and piece rate payment.

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

The pilot supported our client in achieving the SA8000 certification (an international,auditable social certification standards for decent workplaces). YES Services resulted in the establishment and activation of a Workers Representative Group, giving workers the opportunity to engage in the factory governance processes and management the chance for the development of inclusive and smoother strategies. At a minimum, the project can easily train 600 staff a year for every 2 trainers if trainers are mainly focusing on this part. The potential to reach more increases as the trainers become more experienced and as we increase the number of trainers employed. The broader impact from increasing the number of participating factories and a better educated labor market is hoped to be a greater uptake of improved industry practices for even the ‘lesser’ performing factories.

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

There are 558 factories listed in Cambodia, 394 based in Phnom Penh, with 95 supplying major brands. We will expand to Phnom Penh, targeting factories with customers who are likely to put more pressure on CSR or those that appreciate the longer term investment in staff development for improved bottom line. The training can be sold as a product itself for similar organisations working in other regions. On a broader scale, the project serves as the business arm of an organisation working on addressing some of societal roots of the problem, with profits allowing it to expand these activities.

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

Funding is required to set up comprehensive model expanding the accountability topic to recruitment methods, hire experts as well as allocate resources in gaining new clients. The current price structure of the pilot has been refined to ensure training is self-sustaining. As we streamline training delivery, preparation time and staff resources needed for each can be reduced to allow profits to fund a portion of our social activities.

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

ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia delivers training on similar topics. Our training differs in methods, is not linked to ILO monitoring and has lower price structure. Training is developed to be accessible for all literacy levels and inclusive for those with disabilities. It uses experiential learning so that lessons can be applied to everyday workplace situations. It focuses on key soft skills that enable more productive workplaces, employers can see the benefits immediately. Other training providers haven’t developed trainings for factory workers and mirroring engagement of management team.

Founding Story

YES Services previous focus was on youth employment skills training. We became experts in our methodology and began to see how accessible and effective it was to a wide range of people. Among several clients, a garment factory also saw this and contacted us to be part of their work towards SA8000 accreditation. As we developed and delivered successful trainings, we began to see the broader scope of impact that our project can have on a wider range of beneficiaries. Through supporting better workplace standards we can raise the bar in one of Cambodia’s most difficult industries, while empowering workers, creating positive impact for trainees’ personal development and their communities.


Training Coordinator – develops training programs, coordinates delivery and facilitates training sessions. 2x Trainers – have completed internal training and are experienced in delivering training on their own. Marketing, Admin Support officer – has been training in finding and building new clients as well as in maintaining client relationships throughout training process. Head of Program – oversees and mentors staff through process. As the project grows we intend to hire a minimum of two trainers and subject experts to extend team skills. The more clients we take on, the more trainers we will hire to deliver.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]


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

Other [please specify].

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

Children, Factory Workers, Factory Owners, Women, Youth.

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

Access to Social Protection Services (i.e. Insurance, Pension, etc.), Accountability, Labor Rights (i.e. Collective Bargaining, etc.), Gender Equality, Physical Working Conditions.

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

Advocacy, Capacity Building, Organizing.

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

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, Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line.

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?

Offering chances to tackle lack of motivation due to repetitive job roles for a better and sustainable productivity.

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

Empower individuals to be more confident and explore the outside of their comfort zone so they can stretch to fully engage.

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

Pactics: SA8000 certification. Pactics Foundation: new proposals for industries network. ICS Asia NGO: recruitment projects