The Improve Your Business (IYB) on People and Productivity blended with the Human Rights Based Approach to Business (HRBA) trainings aim to enhance growth capacity, access to finance and the capacity to compete on local and international markets as well as to ensure that MSMEs recognise, promote and protect Human Rights in their business operations as stipulated in the Zambian Constitution.

Besides being a training ground, the workshops have been a good source of information on the current situation with regards to Zambian MSMEs and providing decent jobs that inspire productivity in workers while also protecting human rights. Most participants reported that they did not know most of the requirements they needed to have in place. Despite acknowledging that they know what human rights are, most of the businesses reported that they do not know how to apply them to their businesses.

The participants also reported that they struggled to provide decent work as they had no knowledge of the definition of decent work in the context of Zambian laws such as the Zambian Employment Code. Of the 10 MSMEs that participated in the blended training from 26th – 28th January 2022, 90% did not have contracts with their employees or any written policy in their businesses. The businesses also expressed that the provision of a fair income and social protection – components of decent work – was a challenge.

The businesses echoed that they found the training very relevant and informative and requested that the AGS should provide more information and trainings to help them turn the theory into practice.

Using the lessons from the 2-day training, some participants were able to develop their own action plans with the aim to bridge the gaps identified during the training. They noted the lack of adequate understanding and skill to motivate employees for maximum productivity, hence this was one of the key components in their newly developed action plans.

The trainings have therefore, revealed that there is need to strongly emphasise to businesses the need to apply the People and Productivity as well as the HRBA approach if they are to improve their businesses.

Following these revelations, the AGS will ensure that the businesses are implementing their business plans with consideration of the IYB and HRBA approaches through physical monitoring and evaluation and continuous follow-ups. The AGS believes in the power of networking, hence will continue to support programmes that foster meaningful Business-to-Business interactions.