Retail in Asia

In People

Women factory workers to get USD10m in grants from Walmart Foundation

The Walmart Foundation announced on Saturday in Beijing that it is giving grants for women working in factories worth USD10 million over five years.

Launched in 2011, its Women in Factories program seeks to benefit women working in factories in India, Bangladesh, China, El Salvador, and Honduras. By the end of 2016, the goal is to reach 60,000 women by 2016. Walmart Foundation said more than 40,000 female factory line workers have been trained by the program to date.

Scott Price, CEO Walmart Asia and executive vice president of international strategy and business development, announced the grants at a high-level roundtable discussion with US Secretary of State John Kerry and chief executive officers of multinational companies attending the 2014 APEC CEO Summit in Beijing.

"We want to help empower women around the world through this training that teaches critical work and life skills, because we are committed to the communities and people in our supply chain," said Price. "We are investing in our global communities by making this training available to any factory or organization who wants it."

Price also announced details of a Women in Factories curriculum, developed by CARE with funding from the Walmart Foundation, which will soon be available to any factory or organization interested in providing job readiness and life skills training to its workers. Among the modules are financial planning, health and wellness, time management, career development and leadership. The curriculum is open sourced with both foundational training and advanced training modules.

Implementation partners include CARE in Bangladesh; BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) in China; Swasti Health Resource Center in India; and World Vision in El Salvador and Honduras. The evaluation of the Women in Factories program is being conducted by Tufts University under the leadership of Dr. Drusilla Brown.

"We have been honored to partner with the Walmart Foundation on the Women in Factories program and to develop a curriculum that can change the lives of women around the world," said Jeremy Prepscius, Vice President, Asia-Pacific, BSR (Business for Social Responsibility).

The Women in Factories program is part of the larger Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEE) that aims to train nearly one million women, increase sourcing from women, and in doing so improve the lives of underserved women.