Buyers from Gap Inc, Levi Strauss and Wal-Mart attended the launch earlier this month of the Better Work programme in Lesotho – the first time the scheme, which aims to improve working conditions in the garment sector, has been rolled out in Africa.

The initiative, which was first developed in Cambodia ten years ago, will help Lesotho’s garment factories improve compliance with national labour law and the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) core international labour standards.

It will also promote the industry – where garment factories employ around 40,000 workers, mainly women, and account for about 80% of Lesotho’s manufacturing jobs – to international buyers and investors.

“Gap Inc has collaborated with Better Works since its inception in Cambodia, and has supported its expansion into Jordan, Haiti, Vietnam, and now Lesotho,” said Cathy Dix, manager, global responsibility for Gap Inc.

“We believe partnerships are key to improving global working conditions, and look forward to working with Better Work and other brands in Lesotho.”

The Better Work programme is a partnership between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).