Empowering CSOs for Decent work and Green Bricks in India's Brick Kilns

AGENCY          :     European Union
START DATE   :     01-01-2016
END DATE       :     31-12-2019
Meena Sharma Admin Manager cec@cec-india.org
Madan Pal Singh Project Officer madan.p@cec-india.org
Javed Iqbal Cashier-cum-Accounts Assistant javed.i@cec-india.org
Anima Debbarma Project Officer anima.d@cec-india.org
Bhawna Salhotra Project officer - Research and MIS bhawna.s@cec-india.org
Ruchika Sharda Finance & Accounts Manager finance@cec-india.org
Jagdish Chand Upadhyaya Project Officer jagdish@cec-india.org
Ms. Lokesh Project Director lokesh@cec-india.org
Pragya Majumder Project Manager pragya.m@cec-india.org

Empowering CSOs for Decent work and Green bricks in India’s brick kilns
The project (Contract No. DCI-NSAPVD/2015/369-743) will be implemented in the destination states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tripura and the source states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand. Duration of the project is for 48 months beginning from 01 January 2016. 

The Objective

The overall objective is to usher sustainable change through decent work and green technology in India's brick kilns. The specific objective is to increase the capacity of CSOs including human rights groups, labour organisations, child rights organisations, CSOs working on green technology, brick kiln manufacturers associations, workers’ associations and local authorities to perform their roles more effectively to ensure inclusive ‘decent work’ in brick kilns and produce ‘green’ bricks.


The Co-applicants are (i) Prayas, Delhi; and (ii) Terre des Hommes, Germany. The Associate in the project is Anti-Slavery International, United Kingdom.

Target group(s) & Beneficiaries

The target groups are 50 human/child/labour rights CSOs; 25 environmental CSOs; 10000 kiln workers in the source & destination states; 100 kiln owners; local authorities. The final beneficiaries are 150,000 brick kilns, 20 million brick kiln workers, people exposed to pollution from brick kilns, consumers of bricks produced in kilns.

The Context

India is second largest producer of clay-fired bricks in the world employing 15-20 million workers. Kiln workers, mostly dalits and adivasis, migrate as families, work as families against advance received at the time of migration. Workers live in the kilns and work 12-14 hours a day to meet piece-rate targets based on verbal agreements, settled with the male head of households at the end of the season. Child labour is rampant. India’s brick sector, characterized by traditional firing technologies and low mechanization rate, is estimated to consume roughly 35 million tonnes of coal per year. Incomplete combustion of coal and other biomass fuels in brick kilns results in the emissions of fine particulate matter having adverse impact on human health and ecology. Brick kilns in Rajasthan and UP, along the river systems of Indo-gangetic plains destroy top soil, and increase pollution levels in the region including in NCT of Delhi, and brick kilns along River Haora, West Tripura District impact on the air quality of Agartala, capital city of Tripura. This proposal is the result of steps taken, of late, to build interfaces between these streams of thought (rights of workers, women, children & environmental protection) based on the presumption that these are not mutually exclusive. 

Expected results 

The action will improve the capacities of a wide set of CSOs to make changes in brick kiln labour market dynamics and industrial relations, in cost intensive industrial design that perpetuates un-free labour, discrimination, debt bondage and air pollution. It will also help them to improve the performance of brick kilns. The action will strengthen CSOs in its work on promoting human rights, democracy and social inclusion of dalits, bonded labour and women who experience discriminatory social norms at work as a continuation of social exclusionary practices. It will provide training for diversification and pilot a worker exchange. Action will generate valuable information on labour market dynamics, create more structured documentation and share and disseminate this knowledge relating to diversity and social inclusion within a wide set of CSOs, local authorities and brick kiln manufacturers. Local authorities will gain improved capacities to take steps to end debt bondage, end discrimination, ensure decent work conditions and provide social security for workers in brick kilns.

Main Activities

Result 1: Studies on (i) the labour market dynamics and industrial relations in brick kiln industry; (ii) archaic technology, social relations and innovations in brick kilns; (iii) health of kiln workers and exposure to emissions; (iv) document migration pattern to brick kilns over 4 year period.
Result 2: (i) Manuals on safe migration, decent work, safe work and gender rights; (ii) skill diversification training & training tool; (iii) inclusive worker collectives; (iv) ToTs on safe migration, decent work, freedom of choice, right to represent, Occupational Safety & Health (OSH), social security; (v) web-linked database.
Result 3: (i) Field exposures and ToT for brick makers to kilns producing safe, green bricks & providing basic amenities, social security to workers; (ii) national consultations - interface between green bricks and decent work; (iii) Worker Skill Development Centre for diversity at work.
Result 4: (i) Model employment exchange, (ii) national consultations on ‘social protection for brick kiln workers’, and on production of green bricks; (iii) training for international advocacy.