In the past ten months, a window of wider possibilities has opened for more than a thousand women working in our supply chain in Turkey. The women joined the first women empowerment programme initiated by BESTSELLER at four of our long-standing Turkish suppliers.
Recently, BESTSELLER Turkey invited its women empowerment programme implementing partner Mother and Child Education Foundation (ACEV) and four key suppliers to evaluate the first completed POWER programme initiated by BESTSELLER in Turkey. The first edition has been a pilot project running for ten months and all parties expressed that the so-called POWER programme has created clear benefits for both women workers and the workplaces in general.
“We are very happy with how the programme has progressed for the past ten months and its impact on women workers. Going forward, we will evaluate further and decide on how to increase the impact of the POWER programme and involve more suppliers,” says Meghna Vadivel, responsible for the POWER programme in BESTSELLER.
Each of the in total 1,120 women who have completed the POWER programme has been awarded with a certificate and celebrated at a graduation ceremony. Since many of the women workers have not completed secondary schooling, being part of a graduation ceremony was a first.
“The women who participated were so excited and proud to be a part of the programme. It was also quite emotional since they had developed a strong bond with the trainers from ACEV, who spent the last ten months sharing their experiences and personal lives. The women look very encouraged and motivated, and we hear similar comments from our suppliers on the improved communication and confidence they see,” says Seçil Orhan, Social & Labour Manager at BESTSELLER Turkey.
Historically, BESTSELLER has worked with a number of implementing partners to deliver women empowerment programmes in Bangladesh, India, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Pakistan reaching more than 126 000 women workers
In 2021 we launched a partnership with Turkish NGO ACEV to develop a curriculum for a women empowerment programme which is based on local context and addresses the needs of women workers in garment factories in Turkey
Over 10 months in 2022 the curriculum has been tested at four hand-picked suppliers: Deniz Tekstil, Realkom, Farbe Tekstil, and Harmatli Tekstil.
The POWER programme consists of 13 sessions focusing on different topics from personal development and self-care to women’s labour rights and participation in decision making. Women are also introduced to concepts such as personal goal setting, work-life balance, technology-media, child protection, equal distribution of household responsibilities, and opportunities to complete formal education.
The aim of the evaluation days was to clarify how the programme will be sustained by each of the individual suppliers and how we can support them, with the help of ACEV. Discussions also focused on how the programme can be scaled within and outside of BESTSELLER’s supply chain in Turkey.
Going forward, we will continue the efforts under the women empowerment strategy to further provide improved opportunities and possibilities for women workers in garment factories.