Policy expertise

Evaluation of the Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector Programme

Policy Area
Department for International Development (DFID)
Dec 2013-Apr 2014
OPM contact

Working conditions in the garments industries across the world require attention to ensure that they are fair and ethical, and contribute to poverty reduction. The Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector Challenge Fund (RAGS) was designed by the Department for International Development (DFID) to support projects aimed at improving conditions of vulnerable workers in the ready-made garment (RMG) production sector. 

From 2010 to 2013 RAGS supported twelve projects in four countries, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Lesotho, by providing matching grants to organisations concerned with labour conditions in the garment sector in developing countries. 

The objective of the programme was to contribute to the goal of responsible, ethical production as the norm in the RMG production sector supplying the United Kingdom. The expected outcome of the programme was that
RAGS would act as a catalyst to better working conditions in garments industries through the identification and development of scalable and replicable interventions in key labour areas. 

We were commissioned by DFID to undertake an independent final evaluation of RAGS to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/ Development Assistance Committee (DAC) standards. The OECD/DAC standard provides a framework whereby an assessment is carried out in five areas, relevance and rationale; effectiveness; efficiency; results and impact and sustainability.

An ethical approach to production means that certain values are adhered to throughout the supply chain. As stated in the ETI Base Code these values include that: 
• Employment is freely chosen 
• Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected 
• Working conditions are safe and hygienic 
• Child labour shall not be used 
• Living wages are paid 
• Working hours are not excessive 
• No discrimination is practised 
• Regular employment is provided 
• No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed.

DFID has significantly expanded funding and support for fair and ethical trade over the last decade. This evaluation aims to measure progress under one such programme. 

Our evaluation of the performance of RAGS involved analysing both the operation of the challenge fund as a facility for funding projects, and the aggregated performance of individual projects funded. 

Consequently, the evaluation of RAGS was carried out on two levels of analysis:
• Level one - High level review of the intervention logic for the facility, as well as of the governance and management arrangements for the operation of the challenge fund; and
• Level two - Detailed review of a) five individual projects of which two were in depth, including country visits and questionnaires, and b) a document review of the remaining six completed projects.

Based on the level one and two analyses an overall synthesis/evaluation was conducted.  

The recommendations of the evaluation were all included in the management response of DFID to improve future programming. 

Associate Consultant
Principal Consultant