WHY EMPLOYERS SHOULD GIVE SKILL DEVELOPMENT THE ATTENTION IT DESERVES.
An essential part of good working conditions is that you get the vocational training you need. Training and continuous follow-up, sets the foundation for how you can enhance your skill sets. In large parts of the western world, this is something that is valued and often required by law. We expect, regardless of our profession or gender, that we have the ability to be in constant development by using appraisal interviews and get professional input through courses or conferences. All of this with good help and support from our employer. If we look to India, it’s a completely different story.
“In Sujata, where Better Living Projects is situated, public meetings are held periodically. In these meetings, the inhabitants of the local community discuss social problems and provide inputs and wishes on how the village should be operated and further developed. If you’re a woman in Sujata, these meetings are kept secret from you. The women are not welcomed and the men fails to announce both where or when the meetings will be held." Says Cecilie, CEO of Better Living Projects. Women do not only make up half of the world’s population, but half of the world’s potential. Yet, as high as 80% of working age women in Bihar are not able to get a paid job.
Better Living Projects strives to ensure that women can be given an arena where they can thrive socially and professionally. Giving access to an empowering working environment has been the first step to create higher standard of living. With a new skill, you equip a woman with an ability and you provide the woman with a respective role in the community. That is why Better Living Projects since day one has had a huge focus on skill development.
Skill development in the workplace can be a lot of things. It can mean to strengthen her communication capabilities, hygiene training, increased knowledge about reproductive health or an introduction to corporate finance and entrepreneurship. It can also be to learn sewing techniques on an advanced sewing machine, draw up patterns or introduce them to other needle work practices. Due to the world's huge need to constantly reinvent itself visually, it is frequently popping up new manufacturers that needs cheap labour to produce its goods. This unfortunately results in many companies, big or small, simply don’t take the time or money to invest in their employees the way that they ought to.
We want to invest our recourses where Better Living Projects started in the first place: with the women. We strive to constantly give them thorough training and well rounded good follow-up. With the opportunity to always be in development by mastering new challenges and the sense of achievement, our goal is to make our woman mentally stronger. It’s important for us to make the women aware of their rights and at the same time to establish confidence in them. Because skill development does not only create employment opportunities for women, it also empowers them. When the women start to feel they’re achieving something, they slowly develops a confidence and give them a higher self-esteem that they will bring back in to their work, and more importantly: Into their own lives. We want to encourage the women to make more decisions in their home environment and to speak up in public. For this to happen, we need to start by showing them that we believe in them. We need to be where it all happens and with the recourses that is necessary.
Cecilie is now in India, and her focus during this trip is to continue this incredible process. Joining Cecilie in Sujata, is two outstanding professionals who has worked in the textile industry in India for more than twelve years. These two people are quite unique, as they both share a particular interest for sustainable fashion. They will be responsible for the skill training, and build on the skills the women already hold. While in India, Cecilie will also conduct quantitative and qualitative interviews with the women at the sewing center for the second time, and this is something we will continue doing every sixth month.
The purpose of these interviews is to investigate whether the project has had a positive impact on the women's life. In these interviews we can also catch up on any areas we should improve so that we can better facilitate working conditions that ensures personal achievement.
It has been amazing for us to see how much the women have grown in the time they’ve been with Better Living Projects, how skilled they are and last but not least how strong people can become when they feel that someone else believe in them. Women play an important role in development of a family and society in general. We see it as crucial that the women get the support and training they require, so that we together can help them develop the confidence they need to take a bigger part in their own society. Going forward, we are really excited to help affect the future of the women in Sujata in a positive direction and to share personal stories on how the work we are doing is making a difference for them and their families.
Written by Karoline Skrøder, Content Creator- Better Living Projects