BSR launched HERproject in 2007 with a mission to increase women’s health awareness and access to health services through sustainable workplace programs, an initiative that is now referred to as HERhealth. Recognized as a leading innovation for women’s health by the UN Every Woman, Every Child Initiative, the program has been implemented in more than 250 factories and farms in over 10 countries, impacting over 250,000 women.
More than half the estimated 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS are women, more than 200 million women have an unmet need for contraception, and pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death and disability for young women globally.
In 2006, BSR published a groundbreaking study in partnership with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, which documented the health vulnerabilities of female factory workers in Asia and Central America. These women, many young and undereducated migrants who moved from rural areas to cities for jobs, were found to be suffering from anemia, poor hygiene, inadequate pre- and post-natal care, sexual violence, and exposure to infections and illness, including sexually transmitted and other preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis.
BSR created HERproject (now HERhealth) in 2007 to address an observed need for workplace partnerships : civil society organizations were unable to reach women at work in factories, and working women were unable to access critical health information and services in their communities. HERhealth bridges that gap, taking community-based interventions to work. Our objective is to cultivate long-term cross-sector partnerships that deliver benefits for women, business, and society by helping women excel at work and in their communities. To help meet these objectives, BSR and partners have documented a return on investment as high as $4:$1 from HERhealth programs, results that encourage increased and ongoing investments in workplace-based women’s health interventions.
HERhealth workplace programs strive to improve awareness and behavior related to general and reproductive health, to challenge harmful taboos, to promote preventative care, and to increase access to critical health products and services. In each factory and farm, a group of women are selected as peer health educators, and are provided with a series of trainings that take place at work, during working hours.
In addition to helping spread information efficiently, our peer-to-peer model also creates significant empowerment benefits for the women serving as peer educators.
The HERhealth curriculum—which BSR developed in partnership with our local partner organizations and global experts—is based on best-practice community health education training, and our learnings from working in factories and farms around the world. It covers topics ranging from menstrual hygiene to nutrition to maternal health.
The HERproject Toolbuilder was launched in 2011 to help nonprofit organizations create image-rich, culturally relevant training tools that could be used in workplace or community settings. BSR made the Toolbuilder available to the public in 2013, at the Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
HERhealth is operating in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Ethiopia*, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar*, Pakistan, and Vietnam. (*coming in 2014)
To learn more about HERhealth or to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.