Stefanie Karl in India
Verification coordinator for India, Stefanie Karl, is visiting India these three weeks. In her first week, she met up with the South India FWF auditors.
'While FWF is active in the whole of India, garment production is concentrated in a few areas around Bangalore and Tirupur (South India) and Delhi in North India. As the issues differ considerably between North and South, I'm having separate meetings with the FWF auditors for the two regions.'
'In total, we currently have 13 auditors in India and 5 complaints handlers, speaking Tamil and Kanada (South) and Hindu (North). All of our auditors speak a number of additional languages, so most of the more commonly spoken languages are covered.'
'Last week, I met with all eight of our South India auditors. Many of them have been working with FWF for many years. The teams are made up of mostly freelance workers who are human rights specialists, health and safety experts or documents inspectors with great networks among various local stakeholders. This allows us to constantly update our policies and consult about developments and problems in the market.'
'As this was my first visit to India since joining the FWF team earlier this year, it was great to be able to put faces to the names I've been reading in audit reports. I found them very positive and optimistic people, passionate about fair opportunities for garment workers and knowledgeable about both international trends and the local situation. As very few audits were done in the past year and many more are expected in the coming year, we decided to organise a 'refresher course' in November.'