Creating Real Change for Families in Supply Chains: Otto Group’s WeCare Programme in Three Countries

An Otto Group supplier in Bangladesh expanded its in-factory childcare centre to support parent workers. The initiative was part of a WeCare Family-Friendly Workplaces programme implemented by The Centre for Child Rights and Business for Otto Group in collaboration with Save the Children Germany.


Since 2020, The Centre for Child Rights and Business (The Centre) has been partnering with the Otto Group and Save the Children to develop and implement programmes that provide long-term, meaningful benefits to supply chain workers in China, Bangladesh and Türkiye. Through this partnership, we focus on creating positive change for parent workers, their children, and youth, and we ensure that factory management is equipped to sustain these support mechanisms into the future.

 

In 2023, Türkiye experienced a severe earthquake that brought about a host of new challenges, highlighting the pressing need to help supply chain workers in the affected area. In response, the Otto Group expanded the WeCare programme to provide targeted assistance. Currently, workers in three factories in the earthquake striken region have access to counselling and parenting training to alleviate the psychological impact on them and their children. Among the various forms of support is a special training for fathers to help change their way of thinking about gender roles in raising children and to help fathers to be more involved in their children’s growth and development. The factory is also providing soft skills training for young adult workers, and factory management training on earthquake preparedness. Read more about the programme in Türkiye here.

 

Parent workers take part in a parenting training session delivered by The Centre in 2023. Workers gained knowledge and skills in effective communication and children’s needs.

 

Workers conduct a survey during the needs assessment in one of the participating factories in Turkey.

 

In the remaining weeks of 2023, all three factories in Türkiye will organise a Family Day for their workers. The aim of the event is to bring much-needed cheer through a series of fun parent-child activities and games. Family Day is about bringing families together, creating positive memories and allowing parents to witness the importance of positive interaction with their children.

 

Fathers from the factory take part in parenting training designed to challenge gendered perceptions about parenting roles and help fathers take a more hands-on approach to parenting.


“Despite the Eastern culture in Türkiye, as a father, I very often tell my children how much I love them,” one of the participants in the fathers training said.

 

In Bangladesh, the Otto Group’s WeCare Family-Friendly Workplace programme is in full swing. Two factories are actively engaged in a variety of activities to support parents. These include parent training sessions focussing on improving communication with children and fostering a better understanding of their needs. In one of the factories, work is underway to strengthen maternity support through a holistic approach that includes management training on maternity rights, worker protection mechanisms, early childhood development, benefits of breastfeeding and more. As part of the WeCare programme, the factory has set up a room for breastfeeding mothers where they can to express their milk in a hygienic, comfortable and private space that offers milk storage facilities and which is accessible throughout the working day.

 

Medical staff and welfare officers take part in a training of trainer (TOT) session to learn about maternity rights, benefits of breastfeeding, early childhood development, age-appropriate care etc. 

 

Parental workers have also taken part in PhotoVoice training sessions – an innovative programme that improves workers’ photography, story-telling and presentation skills, while enhancing engagement and communication with children. The PhotoVoice project will end with an exhibition showcasing workers' photos and a ceremony to celebrate their achievements.

 

The Centre’s staff delivers a PhotoVoice training to parental workers in an Otto Group supplier factory in Bangladesh as part of the WeCare programme.

 

“For the first time, I've received this PhotoVoice training. It's a different type of interesting training. I've learned many tips to take good photos, such as using gridlines, focusing on the objective, centring the framing, taking eye-level photos, etc., in a practical sense. Now I consider myself a photographer. I've also learned to write a story for each photo. I'll take good photos of my child, and she will be happy. I believe it will help improve my relationship with my child,” said a female participant of a PhotoVoice training.

 

PhotoVoice participants putting their newly acquired photography skills into practice. As a next step, workers will be tasked with taking photos at home with their families and write photo stories about their chosen photos. These will then be presented in poster format and exhibited in the factory.

 

One of the factories in Bangladesh has completely revamped and expanded its childcare centre to better meet the needs of its parental workforce. The new centre offers more space, and functionality and is able to accommodate a larger number of children. It will soon be able to welcome children under the age of six, who can stay at the facility free of charge while their parents work. A total of 12 children can be accommodated in the newly designed childcare centre. At the same time, The Centre has provided comprehensive training to the factory management responsible for overseeing the facility. These managers and staff members are now equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide safe and professional childcare. The Centre has also trained caregivers in in early childhood care and development to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to provide the best possible care.

 

“Our previous childcare centre was too small. With the support of the WeCare programme, we decided to extend this childcare facility, which is almost completed. We hope to make it functional and manage it efficiently. I think it will be a great support for the female workers who have children under the age of six and do not have anybody to look after their children at home. So the parents can continue their job and the factory will be able to retain the efficient workforce,” said a manager of the Human Resources and childcare centre.

 

WeCare’s role in supporting families doesn’t end there. Parents at the Otto Group’s supplier factories in Bangladesh have also participated in an inclusive parenting training programme from The Centre, which was designed for mothers and fathers who are mainly domestic migrants. The training gives workers practical skills to communicate with their children and maintain strong relationships.

 

 

The Centre staff delivers training to migrant parents. Both mothers and fathers are encouraged to take part in the training, rooted in the belief that both parents play a crucial role in their children’s healthy development.

 

“Before the training, I did not have knowledge about parenting. I also did not look after them like other fathers. Through this training, I learnt how to communicate with my children, how to behave towards them, how to supervise them and how to spend quality time with them. Now I call my children more often, monitor their education by talking to them and the teacher, and talk to their friends as well. Now I have a better relationship with them,” said a father of two left-behind children who took part in the training.

 

We are proud of the positive impact this programme has on families in the Otto Group supply chain. The success of the WeCare Family-Friendly Workplaces programme depends on the Otto Group support coupled with dedicated suppliers who are fully embracing the programme.  

 

 


Published on 08/12/2023

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