Program to Provide 2,500 Female Factory Workers with Workplace Skills and Literacy Training
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 8, 2010 – The Walmart Foundation and CARE launched today a women’s empowerment program that will provide 2,500 female factory workers in Bangladesh's apparel sector with long-term, sustainable means of improving their standard of living and working environments through workplace skills and literacy training. The program will be implemented in Dhaka, which has the largest number of garment factories and factory workers in Bangladesh. This initiative is also expected to indirectly benefit the families, and communities, of these workers, and will likely positively impact an additional 12,500 to 15,000 people.
“Just last week I was in Bangladesh and had the opportunity to see firsthand the contributions of these hardworking female factory workers in their communities,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Walmart International. “At Walmart, we aim to not only improve the lives of our customers and associates, but also to improve the lives of women that work to provide many of the products we carry in our stores around the world. I am confident this program will make a difference in the lives of female factory workers and their families in Bangladesh.”
Selected factories will host learning centers, providing education and awareness sessions focused on specific issues of concern to female workers in and around their workplace, including maternal and child health, nutrition, and hygiene and sanitation practices. Through the learning centers, these women will also receive education to improve their reading, writing and math skills. Technical training will focus on providing the workers with design, sewing, equipment handling and other relevant on-the-job technical skills. Factories in Bangladesh employ mostly women – between 20 and 29 years old – who have left their rural villages in search of better livelihoods.
“CARE’s 55-year history in Bangladesh has enabled us to establish trusted, long-term relationships in the communities in which we serve,” said Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE. “With Walmart’s generous commitment, CARE can expand upon our empowerment efforts, imparting essential skills, and improved opportunities, to thousands of young women working in factories in Bangladesh.”
Knowledge and best practices from the Walmart and CARE women’s empowerment factory initiative will be shared with the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturing and Export Association (BGMEA) to help improve the quality of life and social conditions in other factories as well.
Last May, the Walmart Foundation announced a $1 million grant to CARE for projects focusing on empowering impoverished young women in Peru, Bangladesh and India through education, job-training and entrepreneurial support programs. This project marks the second of a series of initiatives to elevate women from poverty worldwide. Globally, women make up 70 percent of the one billion people living on less than a dollar a day, work two-thirds of the working hours, produce half of the world’s food, yet earn only 10 percent of the world’s income and own less than 1 percent of the world’s property.
CARE fights root causes of poverty in the world’s poorest communities. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. In over 65 countries, women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. Each year, CARE helps tens of millions of people around the world effect real, positive changes in their lives.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on creating opportunities in education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009, Walmart – and its domestic and international foundations – gave more than $423 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.