2018 Worker WellBeing

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WWB Stories

The stories have been shared by WWB Champions

Clear Vision Workplaces in India and Bangladesh: Over the last few months we have kicked off vision screenings for a collective 50,000 workers in factories from which Levi, Target, Williams-Sonoma, and VF are sourcing in India, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

We have had a strong beginning, validating what we all anticipated would be significant need for vision correction. So far, we have found that 25% to 76% of workers screened require eyeglasses (largely associated with the workers’ average age), and 60% to 88% are getting glasses for the very first time through your Clear Vision Workplace programs.

We are in the process of collecting pre/post data on the benefit to workers with regard to productivity and quality of life and will be writing these up for collective understanding.

 

Related to the above, Williams-Sonoma and Target came together in a collaborative planning process through which they: 1) set a shared goal for a number of workers to be screened, 2) coordinated on the list of factories such that 1/3 were WSI, 1/3 were Target and 1/3 were shared.Each company sponsored part of the project based on a planned ratio. Each company and VisionSpring benefited from operational efficiencies and cost savings as a result of coordinating and co-locating efforts.

 

In sponsoring their CVW, Levi was highly supportive of VisionSpring developing our operational and management capacity for this rapidly growing channel, particularly in Bangladesh. Funds in the budget were not restricted just to the factory based work, but included support for us to hire a project manager for higher level oversight and ensure training for newly hired vision screeners.

 

by Ella Gudwin


 

She has been working at Fountain for last 6 years. For last 2 years I have been struggling with needle and thread for her blurred vision. I was always afraid that if my vision gets more blurred I will be losing my job, my only earning source. Due to my weak vision sometimes I have suffered problems like headache, minor injuries like hurting finger with needles. Sometimes in frustration I have cried also! However, when I visited CVW Camp, I was given glasses to correct my near vision and now I can see clearly. Now I don’t feel blurred vision, I don’t have heacdache and tension about losing job. Previously I was used to sewing 140-150 pieces and now I can produce 160-165 pieces in day.

 

by Alokananda Chatterjee

Shapla and her son came to Dhaka six years ago and she is working in a garment factory. Her husband is ill and lives in the village. She is a peer health educator of the HERhealth project and has completed the first training. She has learned a lot about personal hygiene and waterborne diseases. She confessed that she did not drink boiled water before the training. Shapla shared that her apartment had been struck by misfortune and fifty of her neighbors with whom she shared an apartment, suffered from diarrhea. This happened because the sewage line of the neighboring building and the water line in Shapla’s apartment got mixed. The fifty patients were taken to the hospital and one of them died. Fortunately, Shapla and her son were not affected by the disease because she started drinking boiled water after training one. She shared the messages of training one with other neighbors, but they did not pay any heed to her advises because of which they suffered from diarrhea too.
When she went to visit her neighbors in the hospital, the doctors asked her how she was the only one in the apartment who was not affected. She then shared that after the training one of the HERhealth project, she realized the importance of boiling water before drinking, for which she had been able to save herself and her son.

 

 

 by Nazneen C. Huq

Shahina is an active PHE. She received training 1 to 3 from the HERhealth training program.
As a PHE, she has many responsibilities. She wishes that she will complete all the topics of HERhealth training. However, she did not go to school and cannot read and write. So Shahina decided that her neighbor is an educated person, Shahina will learn reading (Bangla) and writing from her. Her neighbor teaches her regularly. Shahina paid her teacher 500 tk per month. Now Shahina could read HERhealth training handouts easily. Shahina said that to become a good PHE, education is very necessary.


In a conjugal life, Shahina does not have a child. Before marriage she adopted a child who has no parents. For this reason, she did not want her own child right now. After received the training 2, she had no previous knowledge on a balanced diet and menstruation. Now she tried to keep balance food in her daily food plate. She eats fruits like olive, amla, guava, karambolam, jambura, papaya (deshi fruits) and vegetables also. She is not conscious about her health during menstruation so she uses sanitary napkins she bought from a nearby pharmacy.


PHE Shahina said to HERhealth team that, "Apa now I could read and write and handout 2 I can read completely which was very important for me, many information I did not know before reading the handout (food and nutrition topics) I read it before starting the cooking every day. Now I know low-cost food and costly food. That’s why I want to thank, from the core of my heart to the HERhealth team and our factory & brand also.’’

 

 

 by Nazneen C. Huq

At the factory managers' training on health at the workplace in Egypt we provided examples of how to give nurses more responsibility and play management roles. One factory (probably several) was uncomfortable with the idea in the first training session. A month later, they had decide to name a head nurse with managerial responsibilities in their health clinic. Also, a problem-solving exercise led to a range of new ideas by the managers themselves on how to make better use of nurses and address challenges. The broader success was developing the sense that they did not need to be "medical" experts to identify and solve problems. That said, the question will be whether these solutions are implemented superficially or a part of changing management systems and approaches.

 

 by David Wofford

After having a manager from one factory - Dolphin - attend the meeting, he went back to the senior leadership and suggested they start applying some of the tools learnt during the workshop. The senior leadership had previously refused joining other worker wellbeing activities but with the middle management encouraging such step, they gave the green light and now there are 50 peer educators from this factory that teach their peers about their wellbeing.
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 by Ebaa Elkalamawi

Yo Quiero Yo Puedo (I want to... I can) program was implemented in a factory engaging the leadership team to implement a 40 hours training with supervisors and implement a dissemination strategy of 18 weeks. The workers-management relationship started to change. They started to organize meetings to identify needs, opportunities and action plan engaging both workers and management for a common strategy. Workers identified the importance of basic infrastructure conditions in the factory as mosquito nets for better hygiene conditions in the dining room and were able to ask for this to management.


In another factory, after implementing the program the leadership team realized how important it was to adjust the work timings and shifts considering the timing in which parents leave their kids in school and how difficult it was for them to come on time.

 

by Delil Athie

Mr. Khan is working at Fountain for almost a year. Unfortunately, he has been suffering from blurred vision for last 4 years. As he is a supervisor, he needs to write reports every day on production. Due to the blurred vision, he was making mistakes while writing reports. To avoid mistakes, he used to take help from his colleague to prepare the production report on behalf of him. Asking favor every day to write his report was a bit embarrassing for him and for this sometimes he felt helplessness.

 

He was unable to visit an eye specialist due to the lake of free time to visit. When he heard that a US Based NGO name VisionSpring is doing vision camp in the factory (Fountain), he visited the camp immediately. He got his eye tested and got one eyeglass to correct his near vision problem. He has been using this glasses for last couple weeks and he is happy because he isn’t dependent on anyone to write his production report. Now he isn’t frustrated because of his eyes, now he is working happily. He is now overseeing other quality of works, he can check other workers works from his line.

by Alokananda Chatterjee

Mr. Khan is working at Fountain for almost a year. Unfortunately, he has been suffering from blurred vision for last 4 years. As he is a supervisor, he needs to write reports every day on production. Due to the blurred vision, he was making mistakes while writing reports. To avoid mistakes, he used to take help from his colleague to prepare the production report on behalf of him. Asking favor every day to write his report was a bit embarrassing for him and for this sometimes he felt helplessness.

 

He was unable to visit an eye specialist due to the lake of free time to visit. When he heard that a US Based NGO name VisionSpring is doing vision camp in the factory (Fountain), he visited the camp immediately. He got his eye tested and got one eyeglass to correct his near vision problem. He has been using this glasses for last couple weeks and he is happy because he isn’t dependent on anyone to write his production report. Now he isn’t frustrated because of his eyes, now he is working happily. He is now overseeing other quality of works, he can check other workers works from his line.

by Alokananda Chatterjee

One factory conduct free summer school for all workers who have children, the workers could spend time with your children during the summer vacation after work, their children would be taken care by the factory, the Turnover Rate has reduced, it is a pity that the factory did not conduct comparative analysis on it, the management only get the good impact through interview.

 

 by Haibin Yang

Sharmin is a 22 year old peer health educator (PHE) and has been working as a quality inspector in a factory. She has been able to complete all of the six training topics. Sharmin shared that her parents and other family members live in the village and she lives in Dhaka alone for her work. They do not have access to electricity in the village and so they do not have the opportunity to watch television for which they are unaware of a lot of important information of the current times. Sharmin thought she could teach her family members and also other villagers the messages she learned from the HERhealth project. In her last holiday, she gathered all her family members and neighbors in the village and shared the important messages she learned from the HERhealth project. She informed every one that they must be attentive to their own health, have breakfast regularly, cook and eat healthy food. She informed them that they can make a balanced food diet with inexpensive food. She emphasized the importance and advantages of using sanitary napkin for girls during their menstruation. She bought 10 packets of sanitary napkins and distributed them amongst her neighbors and this cost her 300 taka.
After raising awareness and sharing the messages of the HERhealth project, Sharmin’s mother maintains personal hygiene and tries to cook food of balanced diet. Her sisters and her neighbors now use sanitary napkins.
All these changes in Sharmin and also her fellow villagers were possible due to the trainings of the HERhealth project.

 

 

 by Nazneen C. Huq

L. A.Subashani Wijenayake has been working in the sewing line No:7 for the past couple of months at Voguetex. She got the opportunity to be a part of the Worker Well-being program, and she expressed that her life has changed after the program.
Subashani would wake up around 6:30 am and try to juggle with all the household chores before she reached her factory. However, there was always a lot to do after she went back home. From the session on managing time, she realized that she needed to wake up earlier. She began to wake up at 5:00 am, and it made a lot of difference. She is now able to complete all the housework before 7:00 am and reach work on time.


Subashani’s husband also goes to work. In spite of two earning members in the family, they did not know how to manage their income. Subashani shared her learning from the program with her husband, and both of them have learned the art of financial planning. Her husband was a heavy smoker, but from the knowledge gained through the program, she managed to influence him to reduce the habit.
The program helped Subashani at work as well. From the Worker Well-being program, she learned to help and respect others. She gained confidence and improved her presentation skills. Most of all, she learned the importance of maintaining quality in her work. She learned why she had to sew her pieces without faults, and also teaches her peers the importance of delivering with quality. Her dedication and will to improve came with a reward - with Subashani being promoted as a Trainee Supervisor. She says, “I learned a lot from the program. I was able to realize what was lacking in myself and in my life. I have gained confidence and learned to sew without faults, I also educate my peers to do the same”.

 

 by Julian Joseph

Change Associates Limited facilitated some training sessions for the workers of Epic group. The training was about personal hygiene and water-borne diseases, nutrition, menstruation, anemia, maternal health and family planning, infant, young and child feeding, preventing STI and HIV/AIDS, Serious illness, Malaria, Dengue and Reproductive Cancer, Occupational Health and Safety etc. After these training were successfully conducted, the workers wrote a script of a drama with information from the project. Being self-motivated, the workers rehearsed themselves and staged the drama. These training increased the workers and also the factory management’s overall awareness of health-related issues. The factory also acknowledged that due to these training, relationships between management and workers, between one worker and the other, between management members, and between male and female workers have greatly improved.

 

 by Shamim Hossain

Another factory realized there is a need for female workers to have a physician after attending the "real world scenarios" session and they did proceed with that. On the follow up meeting the representative said that there was huge demand on how the physician attending to the female workers and the management is now considering extending this medical service for a longer duration.
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 by Ebaa Elkalamawi