active
ACTIVE SINCE: 2015

Health Access and Linkage Opportunities for Workers (HALOW)

Empowering workers to improve individual and community health, increase factory productivity and strengthen urban health systems.
SGDS CONTRIBUTING TO:
SHOW SUB-TARGETS + HIDE SUB-TARGETS -
MEMBER COMPANIES:
Global NGOs 1
Other Business Sector 1
Objectives
  • To empower workers, particularly women, to improve individual and community health, increase factory productivity and strengthen urban health systems.

Overview of the health need and challenges the partnership is targeting

There are around 6,000 ready-made garment (RMG) factories in Bangladesh, employing approximately 4.5 million workers. The vast majority of RMG workers are women who have migrated from rural areas, living in slums near the factories where they work in the capital, Dhaka. Despite their numbers, RMG workers often struggle to represent their health and social needs or request improved services at work and in the community. This is particularly true for female workers as cultural norms in Bangladesh perceive women to be docile and dependent on male family members for decision making including over their health needs. This programme aims to build the health and social status of garment workers, their economic productivity and the contribution to the wellbeing of their factory and community.

Partnership activities and how they address these needs and challenges

The unique approach of the HALOW+ partnership draws on the various strengths of each partner. GSK draws on its own scientific knowledge, long-term country presence and experience of large-scale existing health-system strengthening projects. M&S is in the unique position to facilitate access to its own garment supplier factories and leverage its position within the industry to influence other actors. CARE guides the project using its experience of working in development programming in communities in Bangladesh.

The project aims to:

  • Improve RMG worker health awareness and practices through training worker champions and improving access to health and related services.
  • Strengthen factory systems by improving worker-management dialogue with a particular focus on improving health services and supporting policies.
  • Empower communities to effectively represent and address the issues of RMG workers and community members through establishing Community Support Groups and linking with other existing support networks as well as local institutions and structures.
  • Create a scalable model by measuring and documenting impact & learning, and sharing evidences, including business return on investment (ROI) and attribution data.
  • Expected partnership results and next steps

 

The pilot programme (October 2015 to September 2018) initially targeted an impact population of 10,760 Ready Made Garments (RMG) workers and over 40,000 family members in two factories. The HALOW pilot demonstrated that training individuals and equipping them with the skills to reach out to their peers at work and in the community, stimulates an on-going organic sharing and growing of knowledge. This helps to illustrate that one of the most effective approaches to long-term sustainability is in empowering and training individuals themselves. The knowledge-sharing element of the pilot project will be replicated and scaled-up for three-years to include deeper training for workers. Workers will be trained in advanced knowledge about their health and social entitlements. They will also receive skills training to take ownership of representing the health and social needs which they will be supported to identify.

Results and milestones

The pilot programme (October 2015 to September 2018) initially targeted an impact population of 10,760 Ready Made Garments (RMG) workers and over 40,000 family members in two factories. The HALOW pilot demonstrated that training individuals and equipping them with the skills to reach out to their peers at work and in the community, stimulates an on-going organic sharing and growing of knowledge. This helps to illustrate that one of the most effective approaches to long-term sustainability is in empowering and training individuals themselves.

Geographic Reach
  • South-East Asia
See Where
Disease Area
  • Infectious and Parasitic Disease
  • Women’s and Child Health
  • Non-communicable diseases
See Disease Areas
Target Population
  • People with low incomes
  • Women
Partner organizations
Global NGOs

CARE

Other Business Sector
Marks and
Spencer

For M&S, the opportunity to understand the link between health interventions and worker productivity in order to build healthier and safer workplaces and supply chains will also be expanded by bringing in PwC to conduct a Return on Business Investment survey to interrogate the links between health interventions and worker productivity, absenteeism and efficiency.