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Better Factories Cambodia Updates Mobile Phone Program

The International Labor Organization (ILO) – Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) has updated its Kamako Chhnoeum or “Outstanding Worker” mobile phone project after a decrease in the amount of calls it received last quarter.

The mobile phone project was started in 2013 and uses an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to provide communication between the BFC and its workers through a phone-in quiz. The BFC delivers information to the workers about salary and allowances, personal health, and occupational health and safety. Workers have the option to pick a topic and are also asked questions about these subjects.

According to the BFC’s fourth report, from April 1 to June 30, 2014 there were 5,396 valid calls out of 6,655 total calls. A valid call is categorized as when the caller stays on the line to answer at least one question. The number of calls was down one-third from the previous quarter, however, the BFC noted that it did not change the questions or promote the program during this time.

The report revealed positives and negatives. More than 90 percent of callers correctly believed that the importance of needle guards on sewing machines is to prevent piercing the hands and other injuries. Eighty-one percent of callers know that when a fire alarm rings they should escape safely by going to the nearest exit, however, 38 percent answered incorrectly that two emergency drills per year is a waste of time. One caller recorded a complaint saying, “The manager is very strict and he forces the workers to work overtime till 9 p.m.”

BFC plans to start promoting the program again in August once the project is fully updated. All questions in the quiz were changed in July, along with a change to the last section of the quiz. In the previous system the callers were able to record a message covering any topic in this section. In the updated version, workers are asked to state the name of their factory and rate their factory on certain measures.