Action research to improve working conditions in Peru's wood and furniture sector

Throughout 2016, the Lab conducted action-research in Peru's wood and furniture sector. An action research approach means uncovering solutions through progressive problem solving activities. It involves investigation through activity rather than theoretical response and is inherently participatory through constant interaction with market players. Using this approach, and building off of systemic market analysis, the Lab worked with national partners to address three main constraints:

1. a skills gap, in that skilled workers without formal education had no documentation to prove their skill sets, and employers could not successfully identify qualified workers for hire, resulting in high labor turnover;
2. a lack of information regarding the extent of hazardous working conditions in the sector, preventing sufficient healthcare coverage for workers; and
3. limited access to foreign markets, resulting in high informality due to most enterprises serving the national market only.

Based on the market changes that have already resulted from this initiative, there are high prospects for long-term, sustainable improvements to working conditions in the sector.

See complementary study on the export market potential of Peruvian wooden furniture products

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