Evaluation of LO-Norway-Gefont Partnership Programme on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Nepali Workers in Malaysia

About the publication

  • Published: March 2017
  • Series: --
  • Type: NGO reviews
  • Carried out by: Ms. Linda A. Lumayag
  • Commissioned by: Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO-Norway)
  • Country: Malaysia, Nepal
  • Theme:
  • Pages: 32
  • Serial number: --
  • ISBN: --
  • ISSN: --
  • Organization: Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO-Norway)
  • Local partner: General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (Gefont)
  • Project number: GLO-0610 QZA-14/0479
NB! The publication is ONLY available online and can not be ordered on paper.


The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO-Norway) has been supporting the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (Gefont) in strengthening its efforts since 2012, in the latter’s work among Nepalese migrants in Malaysia.


To assess the performance and progress of this cooperation and to see whether the objectives are met thus far. To describe the strengths and weaknesses of the programme and its partners. Time period covered: January 2015 - September 2016.


Data was obtained using personal interviews, Focus Group Discussions and observation.

Key findings

There is a great need to assist Nepali workers in their struggle to improve their employment conditions given the extent of exploitation and abuses that they go through. LO Norway-Gefont Malaysia programme is able to dispense the kind of assistance it hopes to provide. This goes from leadership to financial and legal assistance - through the efforts of both partners. The partnership is made more relevant because of the ability of LO Norway and Gefont to forge union collaboration with Malaysian trades Unions Confederation MTUC in order to pursue its protection programme.

The cooperation agreement has resulted in the formation of additional Gefont Support Groups in four regions (Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak and Johor) from 48 in 2014 to 65 groups in 2016. Three Women Committees were also formed. Around 2.200 Nepali workers have become members in 2016 and this means an addition of 1.573 since 2014 where it only had 600. The project has indirectly added a new activity known as SMS Helpline where the local coordinator is the main link to all the individual cases affecting migrant workers.

Based on fieldwork observation and discussions with members and office bearers of Gefont Support groups and the force behind this programme, it is safe to say that its objectives will be met. It is important to cooperate with MTUC-Malaysia. It would be difficult if financial support is withdrawn, as Gefont Support Group will be entirely dependent on their own source of funding and that is usually by asking migrant workers to contribute every now and then for any logistics and financial needs.


Require Gefont to establish an effective working strategy on how to promote the protection of workers’ rights for the remaining period of the programme. Work out a tripartite guideline for LO-Norway, Gefont Nepal and Gefont Support Group Malaysia to operationalise what has been agreed in the MOU.

Identify specific program/activity for women migrants in Malaysia in places where there is a women’s committee. Review Gefont’s fringe benefits to be given to field coordinator/organiser and program coordinator and determine remuneration based on the tasks allocated. (The project support covers only the project manager in Nepal. The local coordinator in Kuala Lumpur is paid by Gefont themselves and other collaborators).

Adopt new web applications that are available in Nepal to aid in organising. A separate financial report for Malaysia and another for Nepal must be in place for easy evaluation.
Submission of annual proposal must include objectives being clearly stated for each activity.

Gefont Support Group needs to improve its organisational capability by mapping out the programme for the whole year and a timeline must be produced during the Planning and Evaluation Workshop at the beginning of the year. Considering the mammoth task of the coordinator and the limited funding that the task of organising the different areas/regions where Nepali workers reside, it would be to the advantage of Gefont to focus on one area/region in Malaysia.

Gefont Nepal must take an active role in the negotiation for issues pertinent to the promotion and protection of the rights of Nepali workers by engaging MTUC more. Gefont must invest in the welfare of Malaysia Coordinator and his staff.

Where there is local MTUC chapter, it is practical for local Gefont Support Groups to build closer relationship at the local level. Reconsider reducing the salaries of project coordinator and counsellors in Nepal and provide a clearer job description.

Comments from the organisation

Gefont and LO-Norway have discussed the report and recommendations and will follow up.

Published 03.04.2017
Last updated 03.04.2017