Global Fairness Initiative

Global Fairness Initiative
The Global Fairness Initiative promotes a more equitable, sustainable approach to economic development for the world’s working poor by advancing fair wages, equal access to markets, and balanced public policy to generate opportunity and end the cycle of poverty.Since 2002, GFI has partnered with hundreds of marginalized working communities in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to enhance economic opportunities and build sustainable livelihoods.

In Nepal, Over 200,000 workers, of whom as many as 32,000 are children, labor in unhealthy and unsafe conditions in Nepal’s brick kilns. The informal nature of the industry, which operates on the periphery of communities and with little government oversight, has served to entrench exploitive labor practices such as forced, bonded, and child
labor. While work conditions are often harsh, the brick industry provides needed income to thousands of unskilled laborers, and in the wake of the Gorkha Earthquake of April 2015 the sector has become a particularly vital source of the jobs and building materials necessary for Nepal’s rebuilding and recovery.

The Better Brick Nepal (BBN) Program’s core long-term goal is to eliminate child, bonded, and forced labor on brick kilns in Nepal and improve working conditions for kiln workers by incentivizing kiln owners to reform through a combination of increasing market opportunity and improving enterprise viability. To achieve this, long entrenched systems of recruiting workers, paying wages and operating kilns themselves must be reformed and new, locally appropriate, approaches introduced that maintain financial benefit for owners and workers alike. Brick kilns in Nepal play an important role in an economic infrastructure that supports the livelihoods of thousands of workers and provides the raw materials that drive Nepal’s reconstruction and future growth. A future goal of BBN would be to create a more nuanced vision of brick production with wider recognition of good and bad practices where, currently, the sector is largely disparaged on the whole. The impact of creating this “choice” leverages a prevalent interest from kiln owners to find solutions to social and environmental problems entrenched in the sector, and taps into an insurgent demand for responsibility and accountability in the commercial sector in Nepal, led in part by international donor agencies, and amplified in the wake of the Gorkha earthquake.

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