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  • Innovative practice: HALOW partnership to improve worker's health
Innovative practice

HALOW partnership to improve worker's health

Company:

GSK

What:

Cross-sector partnership to address the health and wellbeing of workers in the textile industry.

Where:

Bangladesh

Aim:

To improve the lives of 50,000 workers by enhancing their health and facilitating dignified work.

Context:

Ready-made garment workers live in poor conditions and low social status which may prevent them from advocating for health and social needs.

GSK has partnered with Marks & Spencer, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and CARE (an NGO) to create a programme to improve the health and wellbeing of those working in the ready-made garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh.

Among GSK’s peers, this kind of cross-sector partnership – one that aims to achieve both economic and health gains for a specific, disadvantaged population – is a new development, offering a fresh model.

How does the initiative help RMG workers?
Bangladesh has 6,000 RMG factories, employing approximately 4.5 million workers. Most RMG workers are women who migrated from rural areas and are now living in slums near the factories. Their gender and social status make it challenging to request services for health and improved working conditions. Together with Marks & Spencer and CARE International, GSK set up the HALOW partnership with the overall goal to improve the lives of 50,000 workers by enhancing their health, and facilitating dignified work. The partnership also aims to demonstrate the business and ethical case for RMG factories to invest in their workers.

HALOW works to improve access to healthcare services for garment workers in Bangladesh. ©Cesar Lopez, CARE

A pilot programme, which began in 2015 and lasted for one year, focused on two garment supplier factories that supply Marks & Spencer. The full programme is now being rolled out to further factories throughout Bangladesh.

Frequently, RMG workers live in poor conditions and have a low social status. These factors and others may prevent them from advocating for their own health and social needs, or requesting improved services at work or in their communities. The HALOW programme aims to help these workers by providing health education, raising awareness of health issues, and empowering them to access services. The programme also includes the families and communities of the RMG workers.

How does the initiative perform against the good practice standards?
GSK and its partners recognize the need to measure the progress of their interventions, and any social or health outcomes. One partner, PWC, is contracted to conduct a business-focused ‘return on investment’ survey.

Additionally, the partners have formed a working group and created a framework to monitor and evaluate the programme, including key performance indicators. The programme meets all good practice standards. In addition to meeting standards for partnership, addressing local needs and measuring outcomes, the HALOW partnership has created clear objectives, defined governance structures, and developed processes to mitigate any conflicts of interest. The initiative is designed with the aim of bringing long-term improvements, and to be sustainable.


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