Adelante Initiative

The Adelante Initiative is a platform to evaluate work practices and improve them with the best possible data while utilizing the learnings from La Isla Network’s Worker Health and Efficiency Program (WE Program).

The WE Program was the first-ever intervention protocol to evaluate ways to reduce the harmful effects of heat stress and CKDu among the sugarcane workforce. The WE Program was led by La Isla Network and research institutions around the world, with consultation from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-NIOSH), and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM).

The WE Program provides the foundation for the Adelante Initiative, a multi-sectoral collaboration to improve workplace practices. The program improves working conditions for all types of field workers in sugarcane by providing water, rest, shade, appropriate outerwear, including a hat and breathable shirt, an ergonomic machete, and efficiency training from industry experts. This work is expected to also further illuminate the drivers of CKDu as researchers assess cross-harvest changes in biomarkers for worker health and track employee productivity.

The initiative provides what is essentially a dynamic lab at one of the most logistically competent sugar mills in the Americas, Ingenio San Antonio, located in Nicaragua. The Adelante Initiative’s founding partners are the following: Bonsucro, La Isla Network, Nicaragua Sugar Estates Limited and The Nicaraguan Sugar Producers Association.

We will provide the lessons learned from our efforts in a pre-competitive space to all stakeholders via Bonsucro, an international organization that ensures responsible sugarcane production. Learnings will help inform the Bonsucro certification and be used to inform policy advocacy for worker protections at the state and international level.

Our hope is that we can support, and be supported by all producers along the supply chain looking to ensure their sugarcane is sourced responsibly and in line with their procurement goals. We aim to continuously improve sourcing and certification standards as well as production standards.

Further, we look to development banks to be proactive in assessing risks for labor among industries they work with, as well as supporting evidence-based interventions that limit risks associated with CKDu and other negative outcomes.



3% funded

Funds raised will cover the cost of local Nicaraguan research teams, their equipment, provisions, and training.

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