“The first Wellness House at Wonderful Garments is well received by the migrant workers and has improved the migrant workers’ health and wellbeing and their knowledge of sexual health information.”
This is the number of female workers in the three factories that have been beneficiaries of the project.
Estimated girls & women affected
The local branches of the China Family Planning Association (CFPA) have been using the Wellness Guide they have received as reference to improve outreach activities to migrant workers in their localities with similar programs. Since not all cities have industrial zones with factories, the number is conservatively estimated, but we anticipate it will continue growing as we continue to do more dissemination of the model to these Associations through the central office.
Estimated community members affected
One year ago, you generously funded our project, in partnership with the Asia Foundation, to provide migrant factory workers in Changzhou, China with a sexual and reproductive health (SRH) Wellness Guide to improve the health, wellbeing, and rights of Chinese migrant workers, especially vulnerable young unmarried women working in factories located in Chinese economic development zones. Our Wellness project model built an integrated health care system grounded in a bottom-up, active participatory approach, that identified health needs within a target community.
We presented the Guide to three factories and conducted workshops on how to disseminate it to factory workers, monitor activities and progress, and document stories. We also advised local partners on how to set up health service referral systems, and with local government support, two factories have even created “Wellness Houses” where workers can receive health and life skills information and counseling for referrals to health services. We hope to build on this momentum and continue to provide young migrant workers with access to this important health information.
“The Wellness Project has been introduced and adapted for almost three years, and received assistance from every level of Family Planning Associations; especially from Pathfinder. The first Wellness House at Wonderful Garments is well received by the migrant workers and has improved the migrant workers’ health and wellbeing and their knowledge of sexual health information.” - Hehai Family Planning Assoc. in Changzhou City
Risks and challenges
At the end of October 2013, we planned to transfer the bulk of Catapult funds to our local partner, the China Family Planning Association (CFPA). Due to language barriers, Chinese holidays in early October, and Pathfinder’s requirements for a well-documented transaction of this sub-awarding process, it took some time to work with CFPA to get the paperwork finalized. Eventually, the transaction was completed, and the project was able to continue as planned.
What we’ve learned
We learned that we have to empower local partners by transferring skills to build local capacity, and to give partners full ownership from the start to ensure that the project is sustainable. This approach was well received, and local partners were willing to mobilize or allocate existing funding and resources to support this project, because they considered it their own. We learned that the Chinese government is ready and willing to adopt new ideas and approaches and has funding to execute programs. The local governments are looking for innovative social management models to respond to the central government’s calling, and this bottom-up approach has received positive feedback and attention.
Based on our Wellness Project platform, we are actively seeking support from private and foundation donors in order to provide additional technical assistance that will bring the China Wellness Project to its next level beyond the pilot stage and build a strong referral system with quality of care services for migrant workers. As we mentioned above, the project has been in the hands of local partners from the start and they are committed to seeing this project through.
We did not have any major variations in our budget. As mentioned earlier, our local implementing partner, China Family Planning Association, received a sub-grant for $10,000.
Amount spent so far
Staff Subgrant to Local Partner
Pathfinder is proud of having built strong partnerships and trusting relationships with our Chinese and US counterparts, who are now eager to learn new models of service delivery and project methodology. It would be impossible to carry out a comprehensive project without strong commitments from the bottom up, and we are fortunate to have partners who are willing to take risks and challenge themselves. We are also proud that the Changzhou team has come together to work so closely on this project.
To learn more about Pathfinder’s Wellness Project in China, our partners, and our experts please see our website.
Following our workshop and technical assistance trip in October 2013, we have written a blog about this project on Pathfinder’s website which can be found here.
Wellness for migrant workers in Changzhou
Pathfinder International partnered with The Asia Foundation to integrate labor rights and employment assistance into Pathfinder’s focus on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education of migrant workers.
With a Changzhou team, we are developing a Wellness Guide—to be distributed to workers in 3 pilot factories—highlighting issues affecting migrant factory workers’ well-being in and outside the workplace. We aim to reach 3,000 workers and provide basic health information with an emphasis on sexual reproductive health, which was identified by the workers as a priority.
We presented the Guide to the factories and conducted workshops on how to disseminate it, monitor activities and progress, and document stories. Pathfinder advises local partners on how to set up health service referral systems. The Wonderful Garments and Fujitsu Components factories (with local government support), created “Wellness Houses” where workers can receive health and life skills information and counseling for referrals to services.
Risks and challenges
At the end of October 2013, we planned to transfer the bulk of Catapult funds to our local partner, the China Family Planning Association (CFPA). Due to language barriers, Chinese holidays in early October, and Pathfinder’s requirements for a well-documented transaction of this sub-awarding process, it took some time to work with CFPA to get the paperwork finalized. The transaction is still in progress, and China Family Planning Association will be receiving the grant shortly.
“I have been working at the Wonderful Garments factory for more than 10 years...I have little knowledge about birth control and reproductive health…I’m glad that the Wellness House will provide much needed educational information, not just to increase our knowledge about Changzhou, and increase our quality of life here, but also to provide accurate sexual and reproductive health information to protect ourselves." - A female migrant worker
We plan to continue improving the Wellness Guide and integrate its dissemination into the factories’ routine activities (e.g. workers orientation). The Changzhou team and Pathfinder will produce a Chinese language program brief to document the project and share this model with factory owners and potential donors in the hopes of expanding workers’ access to the Wellness Guide. the China Family Planning Association and the Changzhou project team will provide leadership and support to strengthen the Wellness House functions.
The subgrant to the China Family Planning Association will be processed shortly.
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The first version of this guide was presented to the pilot factories in October as part of a ceremony attended by the Vice Mayor of Changzhou and officials from the economic development zone. The migrant workers at the factory took great pride in being part of the project development and the Wellness Guide focus group and field testing sessions. We continue to provide individuals with information to recognize and manage issues as they arise and where in their community to seek treatment or care.
Following our workshop and technical assistance trip in October 2013, we have written a blog about this project on Pathfinder’s website which can be found here: A Strong First Step toward a Healthier Life:Wellness Guides for Migrant Factory Workers in China
Young women from rural regions in China are moving to large, industrial city centers and becoming isolated from vital health and social services.
What we're doing: Improving the health of young female factory workers in China
How we're solving this: Working with three factories in Xinbei District to improve wellness through education and a referral network and giving young people a voice to make changes to their health and well-being
Young women from rural regions in China are moving to large, industrial city centers in pursuit of higher wages, job security, and an opportunity to contribute to the global economy.
They are arriving in China’s economic development zones to live in crowded factory dormitories where they are culturally and socially isolated, and often discriminated against outside the walls of their factory. High turnover of workers coupled with high demand for employment make these women dispensable employees—thus leaving them vulnerable to employer neglect and subject to poor working conditions.
These young women, who are between the ages of 18 and 29, have significant health needs. They must meet hourly assembly line production targets, which allows no time off even if they are ill or injured. Inadequate safety precautions and basic training often results in exposure to dangerous chemicals and accidents. Most importantly, these women have told Pathfinder that they need vital information and services, such as counseling on mental health, nutrition, gender-based violence and contraception, as well as testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections including HIV and AIDS care.
However, most of the women are neither aware of existing health services nor knowledgeable about where to look for services. As new migrants, these women do not know how to navigate the health system and providers are often not trained to address their main concerns.
To address these needs in one of China’s largest economic development zones in Changzhou city, Pathfinder started working with local partners in three factories in Xinbei District to create a Wellness Project that can be adapted and scaled-up throughout China. Given recent unrest among workers, the Chinese government is eager to see a demonstration project that creates breakthrough collaborations and builds on existing resources. Through this Wellness Project, we aim to improve the health and well-being of these vulnerable young women by:
- Establishing a community referral system by building strong partnerships among zone leaders, the factory managers, government health and social service agencies, and private health providers in Xinbei District.
- Supporting the creation of a “Wellness House”: a safe dedicated space for young female workers in each factory to receive counseling and quarterly health education sessions for the priority health and wellness needs they’ve identified.
Collaborations and partnerships with public and private partners are essential to Pathfinder’s work on this project to ensure sustainability. From the start, we worked to ensure full participation of project stakeholders, particularly the young female workers themselves, in problem identification and project design.