SAI Awarded U.S. State Dept. Grant for 'Pillars in Practice' Program

This innovative new program will activate a strategic partnership with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) to advance the UN Guiding Principles in Bangladesh, Nicaragua & Zimbabwe
Oct 2, 2012 1:30 PM ET

SAI's shared vision is the realization of decent work everywhere - sustained by a widespread understanding that decent work can secure basic human rights while benefiting business. Under this new program, SAI will leverage its 15 years of experience advancing human rights at work to advance the UN's "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework designed to help companies, governments and communities manage human rights challenges in a fair and sustainable way.


The 'Pillars in Practice' Program of SAI and DIHR will build the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Bangladesh, Nicaragua and Zimbabwe, to engage with and train on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (GPs). The main goal of the program is to activate a strategic alliance by establishing the training capacity of CSO partners in each of the three countries to sustainably promote and assist in the implementation of the GPs by local and multi-national companies, government agencies and other local CSOs.

This program targets three industrial sectors over an 18 month period: agriculture in Nicaragua, garment manufacturing in Bangladesh, and mining in Zimbabwe. The activities will be implemented by a consortium of international and local CSOs, including a strong team of international partners: Social Accountability International (SAI), the Danish Institute for Human Rights (Denmark), PASE - Professional for Corporate and Social Auditing (Nicaragua), the CSR Centre (Bangladesh) and the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zimbabwe). PASE was a local partner in SAI's four-year 'Project Cultivar,' to improve labor standards compliance in the CAFTA-DR agricultural sector.

To meet its goal, the program has six key objectives: 1) customization of training materials; 2) training of trainers; 3) implementation of GPs; 4) generation of multi-stakeholder dialogues; 5) publication of three case studies on the GPs in action; and 6) knowledge sharing with the UN working group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

Partners will adapt and customize existing materials for each country-from SAI's Handbook developed with ICCO - "U.N. Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights: A Six-Step Approach to Supply Chain Implementation" and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) Country Portal Briefings on Bangladesh, Nicaragua and Zimbabwe- to co-train staff of the CSOs as trainers for private sector, peer organizations and government representatives.

"The program is a culmination of all the partners' collective strengths and expertise," said SAI President Alice Tepper Marlin. "We are delighted by this opportunity to work with such a diverse team of highly respected civil society organizations to help implement the U.N. Guiding Principles. It is important that steps are taken to ensure that these principles reach their intended vision through effective implementation."

Finalized in March 2011 by UN Special Representative John Ruggie, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are intended to help operationalize the UN "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework. In November 2011, SAI and ICCO partnered to assist in this transformation from principles to practice by developing a Handbook and supplemental training seminars that help companies address questions concerning interpretation, scope, and practical integration. The handbook was released July 2012. The first training course in the Netherlands took place 17-18 September, to be followed by Bangalore, India (November 27-28) and Brazil (TBC).

Special thanks to SAI Development Manager Eliza Wright and DIHR's Human Rights & Business Advisor Paloma Muñoz Quick for conceptualizing and coordinating the development of this program.

Read the DIHR's press release For more information, contact SAI Development Manager Eliza Wright -

Joleen Ong
Social Accountability International