In the past three years, BSR's HERproject has reached over 100,000 women in the workplace worldwide. The program uses a peer-to-peer education methodology to bring health awareness and services to female farm- and factory- workers. Their 2010 report on their local and international programs gives an impressive breakdown of the impacts these programs have had in the workplace and in communities around the world—Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Kenya, Pakistan and Vietnam.
Last month BSR and Berkeley-based design consultancy Tomorrow Partners launched HERproject Toolbuilder, a web-based application to build training tools for health education.
Tomorrow Partners gives some insight into their process:
We worked with BSR to map out the graphics needed to cover all the curriculum topics. In the process, we learned that while women everywhere share some universal needs, in order for information to resonate with them personally, it is critical for images to be culturally specific. What the partners really needed was a library of illustrations that cover topics spanning from general, reproductive, maternal, and mental health to family planning, nutrition, and harassment for each country.
The talented and well-traveled storyboard artist Marc Ericksen joined our project team to create seven archetypical families, representative of the cultures in which HERproject currently operates. Every topic and every detail, from the design of a salwar kameez to the placement of a hand to the way a family stands together, was considered, extensively researched, and vetted with HERproject's global partners. Marc used these families, along with his skill for capturing emotion and subtlety to build a relatable narrative.
What resulted from the research and hand-drawn images is an online program to help educators create flipcharts, a fundamental and effective tool for health educators, and posters. With a straightforward interface, non-profit organizations and employers can easily create their own custom toolbox for disseminating health information locally while sharing materials with a global network of educators.
"In the future, we hope to make the Toolbuilder open to the public with added functionality that will enable users to upload and share their own images, teaching materials and best practices amongst the global community of factory-based educators," shares Gaby Brink, Founder and Executive Creative Director at Tomorrow Partners. "We imagine the toolbuilder could eventually be replicated to cover topics that extend beyond health education to include workers' safety, human rights and more."
These women are healthier as a result of increased awareness of nearby and onsite health services. They are empowered and better able to make lifestyle choices that lead to greater prosperity and opportunity. And peer educators have developed valuable leadership skills, acting as ambassadors within their workplace and their communities.
Business benefits too. Participating HERproject factories have reported increased productivity and reduced absenteeism and turnover.
HERproject was a recipient of the 2010 Sappi Ideas that Matter grant. This year's deadline is right around the corner! Find out more here.