Our journey of achieving well-being started by empowering workers, particularly women, in global supply chains; by building their capacities, strengthening their voices and enabling “responsible business” processes within the supply chain with improved adherence to social and legal requirements.
Over the last 15 years, we have partnered with over 30 brands and organisations, and built our presence in over 400 factories across 14 states in India and 12 countries across the Asian and African regions through technical support on building capacities, programmes, systems and workplace policies.
Our efforts have led to transformational changes across systems and behaviours, unlocking human values and potential outcomes, and impacts on individuals, institutions and the overall supply chain through programmes like Gap Inc. (P.A.C.E. – Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement), Walmart Foundation (Women in Factories), Levi’s (Worker Wellbeing), BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) for HERfinance, HERhealth, HERrespect programs, Debenhams, Zlabels (LIFE), Page Industries (Life Skill Initiative), Primark (My Life), Levi’s (Worker Wellbeing), Inditex (Sakhi, Happiness For All), M&S (Women’s Career Progression), H&M (Intervention Resource Repository Link: on Gender Equity), C&A (Interventions for gender equity and hostels), Li&Fung (Worker App), Lindex (We Women), VF (Employee Wellbeing) and Kontoor (Invest for Wellness). We have partnered with large-scale civil society organisations like CARE International and Gram Tarang.
Our Work with Community Health Workers
We have our in-house ‘Parivartan’ programme for community-based health workers on lifeskills, leadership for change and health. We have also worked with strengthening systems to improve the outcomes of human resources in the health sector, along with Swasti and the European Union.
As a part of our support and response to workforces with COVID Action Collaborative, we reached poor and marginalised front line workforce communities especially from informal economy, like street vendors, home-based workers, construction workers, farmers, female sex workers, daily wage labourers, through our partners and collaborators. We also work with artisans who belong to traditional & indigenous communities.
We have designed and piloted workers development initiatives, developed curriculum for global delivery, set-up and operated systems for training of trainers and master trainers for different countries, evolved global quality assurance protocols and driven innovation. The Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E. programme was launched in 2007 by the US-based apparel giant GAP. The programme was piloted in two locations with CARE and ICRW has grown to encompass Asian countries (India ,Sri Lanka, China, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Jorda, Myanmar, Haiti etc). The program has reached over 65,000 women garment workers across the globe, as well as their key influencers (both in the workplace and at home).
An independent assessment by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) indicates the program’s sustained and robust impact – changes in skills and behavior of female garment workers, leading to individual empowerment and positive changes in their work environment.
We were the leading global partner, supporting all program implementers on capacity building and overall quality assurance of P.A.C.E. since early 2011. It received a number of awards, including the Clinton Global Initiative Award for Economic Empowerment of Female Garment Workers and the Financial Times’ Social Innovation Award under ‘Most Strategic Philanthropy’. Fruitful partnerships were built with non-governmental organizations like the International Centre for Research on Women, Care Vietnam, Care Indonesia, Care Bangladesh and Beijing Qianqian Law Firm.
In partnership with Walmart Foundation, we implemented the ‘Women in Factories’ program as part of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEEI) to enhance the quality of life of women garment workers across 150 factories in India, Bangladesh, Honduras, El-Salvador and China. The program was aimed at empowering women through life skills and increasing opportunities for their economic development. In India, the program was initiated in 2011 and was implemented in two phases across 34 factories in Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Daman and Diu.
Critical components of the program included 15 hours of Foundational Training for the total workforce of the factories; 80-100 hours Advanced Training for a cohort of 120 potential women to enable the factory management to invest in women leaders to retain an efficient workforce; training of trainers for the factory management and supportive strategies to institutionalize and sustain the women empowerment initiative.
The program reached 26022 workers (21885 women and 4132 men across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab and the Union Territory of Daman) and their key influencers (supervisors, factory management, family members and community) and institutionalized capacities within factories for sustainability. An independent evaluation of the program by Tufts Labor Lab demonstrates a positive impact on key workplace indicators such as productivity, discipline, late coming, attrition, the health of workers and so on. The enormous success of the first two phases paved the way for the third phase of Women in Factories which reached about 2500 workers across 45 factories in Delhi/NCR, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Women in Factories Foundational Training was also scaled to reach 10,776 people through initiatives of other brands, and community initiatives.
In association with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) we are implementing HERhealth and HERfinance projects since 2012-13. We have reached over 60 factories across Karnataka, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Telangana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Through this program, we have reached more than 83,000 workforce including men and women to bring about tangible results in health-related knowledge and practices, access to treatment and care, improved savings and access to financial products and services.
We are actively involved in strengthening BSR’s ‘HERrespect’ program – that focuses on the prevention of gender-based violence and women empowerment by developing a training curriculum for the workers and middle management of factories in India and Bangladesh. The program is a unique gender equity intervention model that uses life skills as a tool to build capacities of workers and middle management, and is being implemented in 15 factories in India. This model focuses on building an ecosystem within factories to identify and address incidences of sexual harassment at the workplace by setting up policies on PoSH, building the capacity of Internal Committee members, supervisors and management and creating visibility of the redressal mechanisms at the workplace.
We customized BSR’s HERproject to develop a unique curriculum based on the HERhealth, HERfinance and HERrespect modules to build capacities of workers and management on health, finance, and gender equity. The Peer Education approach was used wherein a few selected workers trained on the HERproject modules disseminated knowledge among their peers through outreach. The program reached 3421 workers including men and women.
As the technical support partner of the Levi Strauss Foundation for implementing the Worker Well Being program that aims to improve the lives of the workers in the apparel sector. It stemmed out of a strong belief that ‘investment in worker well being enables a more conducive business environment, generating shared value for workers and factories’. The program was piloted in 7 factories in Sri Lanka as part of the first phase and reached over 10,000 workers, including women and men. It was scaled up across 3 vendors as part of the second phase, and the third phase focused on system strengthening, policy review, capacity strengthening and Covid response, given the outbreak of the Covid Pandemic. The program used the Training of Trainers approach (that includes direct training of workers and management) to build capacities of selected workers and factory management on facilitation skills, training delivery, and life skills.
Partnering with Inditex we are working to develop a gender sensitivity and gender equity intervention model in India as well as to strengthen the grievance committee and anti-sexual harassment committee within the vendor factories. The overall approach would focus on an improved system that provides space and time for women workers to share their opinion to achieve gender equity across the supply chain factories. As part of this initiative, we trained 318 higher level and mid-management representatives across 224 factories across India. The program was piloted in 5 factories of the Inditex supply chain in Phase I and scaled to 13 more factories in Phase II and impacted the lives of over 8500 workforce.
We partnered with Page Industries Ltd., in 2013 to incubate a sustainable workforce development model to empower the workforce at Page Industries through life skills training. We provided technical support and quality assurance and built capacities of 20 mid-management representatives and selected workers on facilitation and life skills. The model was successful and led to tangible impact among workers in terms of improved discipline, performance and is reaching over 11000 workers across 13 units in India through a TOT approach.
For Indian Designs Exports Pvt.Ltd, we designed and implemented the ‘Health and Wellbeing’ project to achieve well being for its workers living in rural areas (like Hindupur in Andhra Pradesh). This is a self-funded model where we provided capacity building and quality assurance support to IDEPL to directly train workers and sustain the initiative.
The Life Skills for Empowering Women (LIFE) program was implemented in 6 supply chain factories of Debenhams in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It aimed to enhance the capacities of women with life skills that help them to overcome life challenges; to institutionalize capacity building systems within the factory to sustain the efforts of life skills education programs on a regular basis; to create an enabling environment and to create a network with service providers to help workers access services. The program enriched the lives of 6353 workers, strengthened their life skills on health, financial inclusion and gender sensitivity and enabled them to lead a better quality life. In its third phase, Debenhams scaled up the program in 10 supplier factories in Delhi NCR and Tamilnadu. The scale up is done by providing technical support to these factories through capacity building and quality assurance support.
LIFE project (Life Skills for Empowering Women) aimed to empower workers, particularly women working in the Zalando global supply chain, by strengthening their life skills so that they are better equipped to handle challenges in their personal as well as professional spheres, leading to an enhancement in their quality of life. It also aimed to create suitable linkages for workers to access the required services and products and to aid in improving their wellbeing. Program activities impacted 2414 workforce including 1829 women and 585 men. Peer Education approach was used to raise awareness, knowledge and enhance positive practices related to Health, Financial inclusion, and Gender Relationships. A scale-up for the Life project has been planned with the factories to sustain the initiatives.
For H&M and C&A we implemented an intervention in their supply chains to contribute to prevention of violence against the women workforce by establishing/strengthening workplace policies, systems, programs and relationships to achieve gender equity and women’s safety at the workplace. This program was implemented in 5 supply chain factories of C&A and 13 factories of H&M. The program impacted gender equity and safety for 6569 workers in the supply chain of C&A and 15783 workers in the supply chain of H&M.
WE Women is a part of Lindex’s ambition to improve the lives of women in the supply chain by integrating gender equality into supplier management systems. The program has been piloted in Bangladesh. Lindex partnered with us as a technical support partner to support their suppliers in Delhi NCR and Tamil Nadu in developing a gender strategy and integrating gender into workplace systems through assessment, capacity building and developing and rolling out a gender action plan for the respective supplier factories.
VF based on its commitment to achieving wellbeing of the workforce in its supply chain to implement an employee wellbeing intervention for its suppliers in India. The intervention aimed to create a healthy and efficient workforce which in turn will lead to sustainable business in the supply chain factories of VF in India. The program was implemented in 3 factories and is contributing to achieving the wellbeing of 2800 workers in the VF supply chain.
in partnership with Kontoor and Swasti, implemented the Invest for Wellness (i4We) program to achieve health and wellbeing of the workforce in 5 of its supply chain factories. The program will reach over 10,000 workers and actively deliver primary care health services to the factory workers at their doorstep. The factory clinics are being strengthened to include primary care services, actively screen workers for hidden health conditions and use preventive and promotional strategies including improved access to health services to achieve wellness among the workforce.
Li & Fung, a global supply chain managing company, has developed an app called Workers App that can be used in factories as a medium of communication between the management and the workers. The app has been implemented in Indonesia and Vietnam and the pilot in India was initiated in 3 factories in India in July 2019. Eventually, the worker app will be scaled up to all the supply chain factories of Li & Fung. The worker App benefited around 350 workers and factory staff who are using the App to receive useful tips, and information from the management. The Worker App, if utilized fully, can foster a sense of care and belonging between the workers and management, which in turn, will go a long way in boosting the productivity of the factory.
WE have developed a comprehensive ecosystem response to address gender-based violence (GBV).We work with factories to strengthen the workplace policy and systems on prevention of sexual harassment aligning with the Global call for Action, national framework & laws ( e.g., PoSH Act, India 2013). We also conduct sensitization, leadership training, and capacity-building sessions for workers, employees and senior management to create an enabling environment for women’s leadership development.
We provide leadership workshops for senior leadership in the factory to create an employee caring culture and system. We have also designed an Execution Excellence course for mid-management staff and supervisors to improve workplace relationships. We also develop in-house trainers through the ToT approach to leadership training and workshops.
We help factories map the social protection schemes that are relevant for the workers. We help set up a Unified Help Desk to facilitate the process of applying and availing of social protection schemes. We provide support to establish linkages with institutions and government departments that provide financial services and products. We also assists factories to roll out training for workers on financial literacy modules; such as; budgeting, savings, responsible borrowings, financial products, and social protection schemes/entitlements, etc.
We have developed a comprehensive ecosystem response to address gender-based violence (GBV). We work with factories to strengthen the workplace policies and systems on prevention of sexual harassment aligning with the Global call for action, national framework & laws (e.g., PoSH Act, India 2013). We also conduct sensitisation, leadership training, and capacity-building sessions for workers, employees and senior management to create an enabling environment for women’s leadership development.
We provide leadership workshops for senior leadership in the factory to create a caring culture and system. We have also designed an Execution Excellence course for mid-management staff and supervisors to improve workplace relationships. We also develop in-house trainers through the ToT approach to leadership training and workshops.
We provide technical support to strengthen workplace systems, processes and practices. We support the factories to strengthen their policies and workplace committees to improve social dialogue, promote workers’ rights and well-being, prevention and redressal against sexual harassment.
We help factories map their social protection schemes that are relevant for the workers. We help set up Unified Help Desks to facilitate the process of applying and availing of social protection schemes. We provide support to establish linkages with institutions and government departments that provide financial services and products. We assist factories to roll out training for workers on financial literacy modules, such as, budgeting, savings, responsible borrowings, financial products and social protection schemes/entitlements, etc. We introduce and facilitate financial tools and products to benefit and improve financial status and safety mechanisms for workers.
We work with Street Vendors’ Associations and civil society organisations to support and enhance health & digital financial inclusion of street vendors across India. We have reached more than 300,000 street vendors so far. We also supported MEPMA–Government of Telangana to strengthen their efforts towards Street vendors’ well-being on ground during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, which was appreciated by the state government. We conceptualised interventions such as “Smart Vending” for street vendors to protect them during the pandemic and established the inter-connectivity between health and livelihoods.
The Street Vendor organisations have been actively working on COVID prevention, care and management, vaccination, awareness on social protection schemes and digital financial literacy along with relief support (nutrition, hygiene kits, personal protective equipment and medical equipment).
Our work with community health workers entails improving systems to support the community health workers. Our life skills & leadership-based programme ‘Parivartan’, with Swasti’s i4We front line well-being workforce, led to an empowering community-led health workforces.