Plan International Leads a Mutually Beneficial Industrial Park-Worker Program Model

Partnerships with the U.S. government and The Children’s Place demonstrate a childcare model with positive economic outcomes for young women and the private sector
Dec 22, 2023 9:05 AM ET
A young women in black clothing stands in front of a large room of women working on sewing machines.
An employee at the Hawassa Industrial Park.

WASHINGTON, December 22, 2023 /3BL/ - Plan International is leading innovations to better ensure that young women can benefit from the economic growth opportunity that industrial parks provide — and that the same innovations are good for the region’s local businesses and community. Developed in partnership with the U.S. government and The Children’s Place, the Hawassa Industrial Park’s community-based childcare model is demonstrating positive economic outcomes for women, children and the private sector in Ethiopia.

The Government of Ethiopia has invested nearly $1 billion in 32 industrial parks, primarily focusing on textile manufacturing where 94% of the workforce are females and three fourths are ages 18-24. These investments are meant to transform the economy and reduce poverty; however, realizing the full benefit of these those goals requires non-traditional support systems.

To assist the Hawassa Industrial Park improve worker performance and productivity and reduce attrition, Plan and USAID have created a worker wellness program to ensure that potential employees understand their future roles and are connected with local services. As most employees relocate to be near the plant, they benefit from connections with fair housing, an understanding of the community they are joining and how to access essential needs. For the largely young and female workforce at Hawassa, this includes childcare services and early childhood development programs.

Partnering with The Children’s Place, childcare centres have been created to support over 200 children each year. Workers have reported lower absenteeism from work, improved productivity and increased participation in work, leading to increases in their pay.

“The workforce at Ethiopia’s Hawassa Industrial Park, which is predominantly composed of young women, is impacted by a shortage of quality early childhood care and education in the region,” Adrian Sherman, Vice President of Environment & Social Responsibility at The Children’s Place said. “By establishing a safe and dependable daycare center, we have helped to relieve that impact and, importantly, contribute to advancing gender equality and financial independence for women in the region. We take great pride in our partnership with Plan International in helping to promote worker well-being and provide families a reliable and nurturing childcare option in Hawassa.”

As industrial parks continue to expand across Africa, there is an opportunity to replicate this childcare service model for improved outcomes for women, children and private sector partners.

“Sending my child to the Plan run childcare center in Cheffe is the single most important decision I have made in my life,” Debretu, a 24-year-old operator at a garment manufacturing company, said. “The Center has made it possible for me to work and at the same time, for my child to be in a safe and caring environment. As you can imagine, I can now work free of any stress and give my best to my job.”

By investing in the set-up of community-owned and operated childcare services targeted to the employment demographics of industrial parks, companies will see higher returns on their investments while driving sustainable ESG agendas. For young women like Debretu, the investment is one in their and their child’s future as well.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Maria Holsopple 
Director, Communications & Creative Services 
Mobile: 540.383.3628

About Plan International USA

Powered by supporters, Plan International USA partners with adolescent girls, young women and children around the world to overcome oppression and gender inequality. We provide the support and resources that are unique to their needs and the needs of their communities, ensuring they achieve their full potential with dignity, opportunity and safety. Founded in 1937, Plan is an independent development and humanitarian organization that is active in more than 80 countries.

For more information, and to learn about our commitment to safeguarding, please visit

About The Children's Place 
The Children's Place is an omni-channel children's specialty portfolio of brands with an industry-leading digital-first model. Its global retail and wholesale network includes four digital storefronts, more than 500 stores in North America, wholesale marketplaces and distribution in 16 countries through six international franchise partners. The Children's Place is proud to be a women-led Company, including industry-leading gender diversity in senior management and throughout all levels of its workforce, and of its commitment to sustainable business practices that benefit its customers, associates, investors, suppliers and the communities it serves. The Children's Place designs, contracts to manufacture, and sells fashionable, high-quality apparel, accessories and footwear predominantly at value prices, primarily under its proprietary brands: "The Children's Place", "Gymboree", "Sugar & Jade", and "PJ Place". For more information visit:,, and, as well as the Company's social media channels on Instagram, Facebook, X, formerly known as Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.