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The DWR-Africa Project

DWR Africa Project NoteIn 2018, the DWR Project launched Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa). The Project was centred on effective regulatory strategies for decent work in the in southern Africa, with a particular focus on the garment sector.

Funded by Durham University (UK) through the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)/Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the Project was a collaboration between Durham University (UK), the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and York University (Canada).

DWR-Africa established a regional network of researchers and stakeholders in southern Africa, conducted research on challenges to labour law enforcement in the region, and generated recommendations for research and regulatory policy. The project also produced Rethabile’s Story, a short film on life in the Lesotho garment factories.


Project Partners

  • African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF)DWR Africa Logo
  • Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA)
  • Apparel Manufacturers of South Africa (AMSA)
  • Association of Lesotho Employers and Business (ALEB)
  • Department of Labour, South Africa
  • Ethical Trade Initiative, South Africa
  • Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI)
  • Gatsby Africa Textile Development Unit, Tanzania
  • ILO Country Office for Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, and for the Special Representative to the AU and the ECA
  • ILO DWT for Eastern and Southern Africa and Country Office for South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland
  • Independent Democratic Union of Lesotho (IDUL)
  • IndustriALL Global Union, South Africa
  • International Labour Organization, Pretoria Office
  • Jacques Hau Clothing, South Africa
  • Lentsoe La Sechaba, Lesotho
  • Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC)
  • Lesotho Trade Exporters Association (LTEA)
  • Ministry of Labour and Employment, Lesotho
  • Ministry of Trade and Industry, Lesotho
  • Mr Price Group, South Africa
  • National Clothing Bargaining Council, South Africa
  • National Clothing Textile and Allied Workers Union (NACTWU), Lesotho
  • National Union of Manufacturing and Allied Workers (NUMAW), Lesotho
  • National University of Lesotho
  • North-West University, South Africa
  • ReMmoho Compliance Solutions, Lesotho
  • Social Capital, South Africa
  • Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU), South Africa
  • United Textile Employees (UNITE), Lesotho
  • University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • University of the Western Cape, South Africa


Regional Meeting on Decent Work Regulation in Africa

DWR Africa Group Picture

Regional Meeting was held at the University of Cape Town on 18 June 2018. The event brought together participants from the region and international partners. It provided the opportunity for a regional dialogue on regulatory strategies that can achieve decent work in the African context, with a focus on enforcement of labour laws in the garment sector.



DWR Africa Findings and Recommendations

Findings and Recommendations of the Regional Meeting on Decent Work Regulation in Africa

The DWR-Africa Project produced a document which outlines the Meeting’s findings and recommendations: Regional Meeting on Decent Work Regulation in Africa. The publication provides a contribution to the lively debates on effective labour standards, and on decent work in the garment sector, both in Africa and across the world.


Developmental Enforcement Report

Building upCover DE Reporton the Findings and Recommendations of the Regional Meeting and subsequent fieldwork, the DWR-Africa project produced the report on Developmental Enforcement (2019).The report focuses on the most urgent challenges to public and private enforcement of labour standards in the South African and Lesotho garment sectors.


The study was led by Shane Godfrey and co-authored by Debbie Collier, Roger Ronnie, and Abigail Osiki (Institute of Development and Labour Law at the University of Cape Town, South Africa), Deirdre McCann (Durham Law School, UK) and Kelly Pike (Global Labour Research Centre, York University, Canada).


Rethabile’s StoryRethabile's Story Poster

DWR-Africa had a particular focus on Lesotho, were it investigated work-life and gender dynamics and how these relate to informality in – or are associated with – the garment sector.


Some of the research findings are reflected in our documentary on the garment sector in Lesotho and South Africa. The film – Rethabile’s Story – was launched at the UN in Geneva (July 2019) and has since been shown to audiences around the world, including as an Official Selection of the Canadian Labour International Film Festival, with a cinema screening in Toronto in November 2019, and the Workers Unite Film Festival, with a screening in New York in September 2020.


The documentary is raising public awareness of conditions in the garment sector in Lesotho among audiences across the world.


Global impact

The DWR network’s findings and recommendations have been used by the UN International Labour Organization to shape global policy on effective labour laws.


In Africa, the project fiLesotho Workshopndings have been drawn on by the Lesotho Labour Commissioner, the Apparel Manufacturers of South Africa, ILO Pretoria, and by trade unions across the region. The IndustriALL union, for example, has used our findings in capacity-building (Swaziland, Madagascar), collective bargaining (Uganda, Zimbabwe), and advocating for rights in Export Processing Zones (Ethiopia).


In Lesotho, the Project has contributed to Labour Code reform and generated a national-level Framework for a Decent Work Training Programme.