Driving decent work and safer working conditions for sugarcane farmers in Eswatini through technology

Name of the project: Driving decent work and safer working conditions for sugarcane farmers in Eswatini through technology

Call for proposals theme: Human rights and decent work

Project lead: The Coca Cola Company

Grant awarded: £50,000

Project budget: £75,000

The Coca Cola Company in Eswatini has partnered on this project with the Eswatini Sugar Association and Partner Africa.

The Eswatini Sugar Association (ESA) is an umbrella body that brings together Eswatini sugarcane growers and millers. It is responsible for marketing and selling all sugar and molasses produced in the country. Its services include agricultural research, cane testing, warehousing, distribution, marketing, and policy advocacy.

Partner Africa is a specialist business and human rights non-governmental organisation, that provides services to clients following the United Nations Guiding Principles. Partner Africa has expertise in social research in Africa and participatory approaches to engage with workers and community members to understand salient human rights risks.

Purpose of the project

Working conditions in Eswatini’s sugarcane industry are often physically demanding and hazardous, with risks such as injuries, exposure to harmful chemicals, and heat-related illnesses. The project aims to address these concerns and improve health and safety, strengthen labour rights and foster a more just, inclusive and sustainable sector.

Over 12 months, about ten workshops will be delivered to small-scale farm workers, on themes including health and safety, sustainable practices and grievance mechanisms. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be distributed to 300 farm workers.

The project will leverage digital technology, diginexAPPRISE, a worker survey tool that allows workers to provide confidential and anonymous feedback on critical issues that may not be identified by standard social audits.

The objective is for workers from all backgrounds and literacy levels to respond and raise issues honestly. They will be offered two ways of accessing the tool: remotely, via a survey link and a QR code, or through a mobile device.

Data collected through the project’s activities will be analysed and prepared into reports to demonstrate trends and particular concerns or violations. The employers and supply chain actors will be supported by the project partners in building capacity of staff and workers, as well as working collectively towards improving human rights and decent working conditions.


The project will focus on the lowveld region of Eswatini around Siphofaneni – Big Bend corridor. This region is the most drought-prone area in the country and experiences high temperatures. Heat waves are expected to worsen, affecting agriculture and farm workers’ health.

As well as difficult working conditions and heat stress, the sugarcane industry in this region faces high risks of forced labour and child labour.

Why this project?

The Bonsucro Impact Fund supports collaborative, scalable and innovative projects that accelerate sustainable sugarcane production.


The project can be expanded to all small-scale sugarcane farms in Eswatini (411 as of March 2023), without compromising effectiveness or increasing costs exponentially.  

A systemic approach that connects to the root causes of the problem

The project seeks to address the root causes of labour rights violations by working directly with and listening to the workers in sugarcane farms. Measures will be implemented to ensure that at least minimum wages are paid, safe and healthy working conditions, and opportunities for workers’ participation in decision-making processes. Data will be available for stakeholders to help strengthen labour inspection mechanisms and enforcement of labour laws.


Stakeholders will be able to regularly monitor and evaluate the progress made in addressing the root causes of sustainability issues, using indicators and metrics to measure the impact of interventions.

Areas that need further attention or improvement will be identified. Based on the findings, strategies and interventions will be adjusted as needed to ensure continuous progress towards addressing root causes of issues.

Expected outcomes

  • Valuable insights and data on the root causes of labour and human rights issues.
  • An estimated 1,000 farm workers trained on safety and sustainability practices, enhancing overall industry standards. Through a “Train the Trainer” programme, 100 champions will be trained, and each will then be expected to train at least 10 people during the 12-month period.
  • PPE will be given to 300 farm workers, improving individual safety and health.
  • Engagement of an estimated 1,000 workers in grievance mechanisms.

Bonsucro Impact Fund

The Bonsucro Impact Fund invests in impact projects that address critical sustainability challenges in the sugarcane sector.

The Bonsucro Impact Funds uses income from the sale of Credits through the Bonsucro Credit Trading Platform.

All trades are charged a transaction fee, around 50% of which is invested into the Bonsucro Impact Fund.

Learn more about the Fund and check for grants available here.

Bonsucro Credit Trading

By purchasing Bonsucro credits for sugarcane, ethanol, molasses and raw sugar, companies support impact projects on the ground through the Bonsucro Impact Fund.

Visit the Bonsucro Credit Trading Platform.