Sunday, October 3, 2010

Health Enables Returns

Thursday was one of those days that reminds me why I love my job. I spent the day in a factory outside of Ho Chi Minh and we kicked off a new initiative with the factory: HERproject. An initiative of BSR, HERproject uses a factory-based peer-education model to improve women's health outcomes.

Essentially, factories invest in health education so that female factory workers gain a better understanding of reproductive health, nutrition and sexually transmitted diseases, among other health issues. In turn, factories experience lower absenteeism rates, reduced turnover and higher productivity, thanks to healthier workers.  And investing in women has impact beyond just those who experience the health training. Women take what they learn, apply it to their families and help to uplift entire communities.

I spent the day with factory management, BSR staff, representatives from our buying agent and the local Vietnamese NGO that will be delivering HERproject training and we discussed the plan for the upcoming year. It was simply one of those meetings where everyone walks away brimming with hope and excited for the possibilities.

After the meeting, we had a chance to tour the factory, meet some of the workers who would be participating and discuss additional outstanding issues. The factory tour also proved illuminating because it is a very well-run and organized facility.  It's one of the nicest factories I've ever visited, so I'm glad we've chosen a high-performing partner to launch this initiative with.

My company is proud to invest in this project and I feel lucky that I got to participate in the kick off.  In addition to this facility in Vietnam, one factory in Bangladesh is also implementing HERproject with our sponsorship. As we monitor the performance of these projects, I'm hopeful that we will be able to demonstrate both health benefits and business benefits so that we can continue to launch similar initiatives with other high-performing garment factories in our supply chain.

No comments:

Post a Comment