ofi’s Women on the Roads for Hazelnuts program works with female seasonal migrant workers in the four main sourcing regions to provide training on labor rights, gender equality, first aid and basic healthcare.
Field staff and social workers meet with the women initially to find out what they want to know and identify any health concerns. A doctor accompanies them to give advice on
female related health conditions and resources, like the location of the nearest clinic for free vaccinations for children.
Each family is then visited at least four times in their own home by a member of the team to deliver the 1.5-hour seminars, with the aim of reaching 1,200-1,500 women during the pre-harvest period. The same is also provided for the 200+ women working in ofi’s hazelnut processing factories in Sakarya and Ordu.
For the women staying in temporary workers’ accommodation, hygiene packages are distributed during the visits and health screenings performed in collaboration with KETEM (Cancer Early Diagnosis, Screening and Training Center).
During the post-harvest period in mid-September, field staff revisit the four provinces and conduct focus group discussions with the same women and labor contractors to assess the effectiveness of the training and how the level of awareness on the issues it addressed has changed . Focus group discussions following the training showed that female workers felt more respected. The women also said they were more aware of their rights as a result of the training.
Not only does this mean the workforce becomes healthier, but knowledge of labor and gender rights gives women the confidence to speak up when they get to work, and empowers them to assert other rights, such as asking for a contract or access to better water or accommodation.
Finally, by addressing their needs and enabling them to better understand their health, they can relate it to the Human Rights standards in the training sessions and then get out of the training what we'd hoped they'd gain.