CARE Innovator-in-Residence, Elana Berkowitz, recently interviewed the Chat! team (Cohort 1) in the Lenny Letter! The Lenny Letter is a popular online Feminist newsletter created to give young, female voices a place to write about and discuss their issues.
“The early results have been remarkable. So far, Chat! has reached 15,000 workers at factories serving big Western brands like Levi’s and Marks & Spencer. Rates of modern contraception use among sexually active factory workers have doubled, reaching nearly 50 percent. Unwanted pregnancies have declined, and women in the program report that their confidence in discussing contraception with their partners — and even in refusing sex altogether — has tripled”
Catch up with the Chat! team here: The App Teaching Cambodian Garment Workers About Their Sexual Health: How Chat! is making contraception and STD information into a game and helping women at the same time.
Congratulations to our five Scale X Design finalist teams on their amazing pitches at last night’s Pitch Night in Brooklyn! Thank you to all our supporters who joined us at New Lab and on Facebook Live for our first-ever Scale X Design Challenge. We are thrilled to announce the 3 Scale X Design Challenge winners who will each receive an award of $150,000.
CHAT! harnesses the reality of young urban factory workers in Cambodia, integrating both entertainment and technology to provide cost-effective and high-impact heath education through a unique combination of hands-on training, relatable video dramas and mobile games.
Krishi Utsho- Bangladesh
Krishi Utsho (KU) is a micro-franchise network of small kiosks that sell agriculture inputs, supplies and services to these farmers, particularly women, in rural Bangladesh.
Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST)- Tanzania
MAST is a mobile application that shortens the time, reduces the cost and simplifies the process for individuals to claim their land rights.
We hope you’ll continue following along on the journey of all the teams as they scale their innovations to impact the lives of millions!
We’re thrilled to share our first blog post written by one of Accelerator team participants! Thanks to Julia Battle for sharing the Chat! Contraception team’s experience with the Accelerator so far. In the Designing for Scale lab, the teams learned that early stage innovation needs to learn from users, looking for “viral” replication, spontaneous sharing or replication, and unexpected value. The below is a good illustration that sometimes or “user” is not who we expected it to be at the beginning and that assumptions need to be validated.
Women in the Garment Industry in Cambodia
Earlier this year, the Chat! Contraception package was finally in full swing. We had expanded into 14 factories. We were building closer relationships with factory management so we could get time with participants during working hours instead of just lunch time (when you have hungry workers!). Among the activities that were taking place at the time, we were working out the quirks of downloading the mobile game, an innovative approach in participant engagement. We were getting incredible feedback from participants about what they learned. Though originally designed for young females, we realized that the reality of the factory setting was that participants were varied in age and gender. Older married women were attending and still found the information valuable– for example, to open their eyes to different methods of contraception and to correct misconceptions about those methods. They also felt they could give better advice to a wider audience– for example, about using emergency contraception or accessing safe abortion– in case their relatives, neighbors or friends were faced with unwanted pregnancies .
The Male Engagement Component
A positive result of the success with the female participants is that male factory workers starting joining the video sessions. Sometimes they would sit quietly and listen, but more and more they would ask their own questions. These were questions about the relationships of the characters and questions about the issues brought up through the films. That’s when we realized the missing piece– we were ignoring the men!
Any document you read about the garment factory industry in Cambodia will tell you that it’s 80-90% women. We had used those statistics in our own proposal. For CARE, focusing on women was a natural fit. But what about the other 15%? Didn’t they need information? More than that, if we were to start to transform gender norms as they related to sexual and reproductive health and right, weren’t men actually an essential ingredient? After realizing this, we embarked upon a male engagement component. Focus groups were conducted with male workers to explore what they wanted to learn about and which activities and approaches resonated best with them. At the end, we came up with a set of five sessions, some additional games, and the start of a communications campaign. We started with the sessions, of which there are five. They belong in a set but can also be standalone, as have become increasingly sensitive to the time constraints at factories. They cover the following topics: (1) Sex and Gender, (2) Communication and Consent, (3) Contraception, (4) STIs, and (5) Putting it all together.
Like the female sessions, they consist almost entirely of games and activities. But this time, it’s all men in the room. In Communication and Consent, men explore and critique audio scenarios between couples about having sex and using contraception. They get to make up their own endings, which allows them to think through alternative ending– those that they would rather live.
Part II of this post is coming soon since the team is just now starting to implement the male engagement component!
Chat! Contraception, an integrated behavior change communication (BCC) package, was created in 2015 and aims to improve the health of garment factory workers though empowering young women to make informed, healthy, sexual choices, access reliable reproductive health services, and prevent unplanned pregnancies. Improving the health of workers and preventing unplanned pregnancies also has benefits for factory management, as in turn, workers will take fewer sick days and are more likely to continue working at the factory for longer—both significant factors for productivity. Chat! Contraception harnesses the reality of young urban women in Cambodia, integrating both entertainment and technology to achieve its goals. The concept adopts an innovative, three-pronged approach, to “Inform, Engage, and Challenge.”
Julia Battle | SRMHR Advisor | CARE Cambodia
With over 12 years of diverse global health experience in the governmental, non-profit, academic, and private sectors, Julia Battle spent five years in Tanzania, planning and overseeing evidence-based, innovative reproductive, maternal and newborn health programs before relocating to Cambodia in 2015 to take on a Technical Advisor role. Her accomplishments include designing and implementing effective programs, managing diverse staff, conducting rigorous evaluations, building strategic partnerships, and writing various publications and proposals. Her passion and technical expertise is in sexual, reproductive, maternal, and newborn health, with a particular interest in applying evidence to increase quality and access to essential health care at both the community- and facility- levels.
Julia holds a BA in Philosophy from the George Washington University and an MPH in Global Health (Community Health) from Emory University.
Supraja Suresh | Apparel & Garment Sector Projects Advisor | CARE Cambodia
Supraja Suresh joined CARE Cambodia in April 2015. In her current role she develops and manages relationships with retailers, industry bodies, other stakeholders and advises the factory team on implementation design and training. With a strong background in Sustainability Management, Quality, and Corporate Communications, Supraja has previously managed capacity building and safety programs in garment factories in India and Bangladesh. She is also fluent in five languages, including Tamil and Telugu.
Chenda Net | Project Manager | CARE Cambodia
Maly Man | Senior Program Officer | CARE Cambodia
Jenny Conrad | Communications Advisor | CARE Cambodia
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Tanya Barnfield | Program Director for the Socially Marginalised Women Program | CARE Cambodia
Tanya Barnfield joined CARE Cambodia in May 2012 and is responsible for the Socially Marginalised Women program, which focuses on rural people and urban migrants who have limited productive resources and lack social protection, especially women. She has the overall responsibility for the development, implementation and management of the program and its projects. Projects include working with young women in business, strengthening access to maternal and child health services and ending violence against women and girls. Tanya developed the vision for the Chat! Contraception package.
Originally from Warwickshire, UK, Tanya has worked throughout Asia for over a decade. She has a strong background in program management and has managed humanitarian and development programs in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.