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BSR Wins US$1.77 Million Grant from Dutch Government to Invest in Women’s Health

March 26, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO—March 26, 2013—The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands has awarded a US$1.77 million grant to BSR’s HERproject, a peer-to-peer education program on women’s sexual and reproductive health that has reached more than 200,000 female workers in more than 150 factories and farms in eight countries: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, and Vietnam. BSR will use the grant to expand HERproject, particularly within Asia and Africa.

HERproject connects BSR’s network of global companies operating in emerging economies to deliver women’s-health training among the companies’ suppliers (local factories and farms) by qualified trainers from local NGOs. Since its launch in 2007, HERproject has initiated partnerships among 22 companies and their suppliers with 15 local NGOs. This unique model, which uses targeted workplace-based trainings and monthly peer-to-peer follow-up meetings, is an efficient and cost-effective way to reach a large and vulnerable population of women. It also benefits business through improved employee loyalty, stronger supplier relationships, and a more stable workforce.

“This project has a real and immediate impact on women’s lives by giving them practical, high-quality information about their sexual and reproductive health,” said Racheal Yeager, BSR’s HERproject Director. “This support from the Netherlands will help us with HERproject’s goal to reach one million female workers by 2015.”

The grant—which complements longstanding support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Levi Strauss Foundation—will help expand HERproject in many ways:

  • Promote HERproject among community and youth organizations.
  • Develop new partnerships for scale in target countries of Bangladesh and Kenya.
  • Launch research in Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, and Uganda to examine the needs of women in export-oriented sectors.

As part of this grant, BSR will be recruiting new companies to join HERproject from the apparel, footwear, home-goods, retail, consumer electronics, food, agriculture, beverage, and horticulture industries. Companies interested in participation can email getinvolved@herproject.org.

About HERproject

Launched in 2007 in China, BSR’s HERproject links multinational companies and their factories to local NGOs to create sustainable workplace programs that increase women’s health awareness. Working with HERproject partner RAISE Health, BSR also seeks to demonstrate the return on investment for factory-based women’s health programs. HERproject is active in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, and Vietnam. Participating companies include Abercrombie & Fitch, ANN Inc., Burberry, Clarks, Columbia Sportswear, George, H&M, HP, J. Crew, Levi Strauss & Co., Li & Fung, Lindex, Marks & Spencer, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Primark, and Timberland. For more information about HERproject, visit www.herproject.org.

About BSR

BSR works with its global network of nearly 300 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit www.bsr.org for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.

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