Employee Wellness is of High Value

 

Wellbeing in TMP Workplaces

Dr. Margaret Swarbrick[1]  identified eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual, and environmental. For trauma survivors, especially those needing long-term healing, having access to a healthy workplace can close a critical gap toward wellbeing. 

TMP has focused on Uganda, a country where there are many gaps in the wellness dimensions for people of all ages. At Nguvu Dairy in northern Uganda, 75% of the employees have self-identified as having experienced significant trauma. The World Food Programme[2] estimated in July 2022 that 29% of the children in Uganda are stunted in their growth and 53 percent are anemic and at risk of not reaching their full mental and physical potential. In the Acholi region where Nguvu Dairy operates, the anemia rates are as high as 70%. 

That’s where we come in. A stable job at a TMP business such as Nguvu Dairy gives employees the opportunity to move toward economic stability, improve their family’s nutrition, and earn the money needed to pay for schooling – for themselves and their children. We touch on a number of the dimensions of wellness through various workplace initiatives that keep the employee’s wellbeing at the center.

 

Contributing to Wellbeing at Nguvu Dairy

Consistent, Yet Limited Work Hours

Creating healthy work habits is one desire we have for our employees. In the business world, time is money. While we understand the importance of profitability and business success, we find it essential to include rest in the culture of our companies. We encourage healthy life balance by planning work schedules with days reserved for rest. 

Food Stipend 

With such high levels of food insecurity amongst households in northern Uganda where Nguvu Dairy is located, chronic malnutrition in children is a critical issue. The negative impacts of food insecurity on our employees and their families cannot be understated. That is why TMP found it important to support them, separate from their pay, with daily food stipends. This helps ensure that while they tend to the financial needs of their families, they have access to basic nutritional needs while at work.

Encouraging Dialogue

All of Nguvu’s managers receive training in understanding the impact of trauma on a person’s behavior and relationships. Rather than feeling silenced, the workplace creates many opportunities for employees to learn that they have a voice and are invited to express their needs. TMP believes that a workplace that affirms the dignity of each person, encourages workers to “find a place” on the team, and invites each worker to express their creativity will bring lasting healing and restoration.

“Today if you talk to the community, people will talk about the trauma healing program [at Nguvu Dairy]… Workers are now sharing their problems with others as a result of trauma healing training. As a result of the trauma healing program, families of the salespeople are [living] in peace.”

Facilitator, Trauma Healing Program

Here at The Market Project, we seek to promote the physical, mental, social, and spiritual wellbeing of each person employed by one of our businesses. Organizations that expand the ways they support their employees’ wellbeing, in turn, support their recovery.

Read more about how The Market Project Stands in the Gap for survivors of complex trauma, trafficking, and exploitation, and join us in the movement to build healing workplaces.

 

 

[1] Swarbrick, M. (2006). A wellness approach. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 29(4), 311–314.

[2] World Food Programme, July 2022 Country Brief on Uganda. https://www.wfp.org/countries/uganda


 

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How TMP Creates a Trauma-Informed Workplace

 

 

Here at The Market Project (TMP), we believe that healing from trauma is possible for survivors, regardless of their current vulnerability. Trauma impacts people from all walks of life, across regions or educational and economic levels. To that end, anyone who has a job will benefit from a trauma-informed workplace. For the most vulnerable, a healthy workplace can set them on a path of recovery. 

In this post, we’ll explore four tangible ways to create a trauma-informed workplace for survivors, everywhere, and why striving for it is so important to TMP. 

 

What is “Trauma-Informed” and Why Does it Matter to TMP?

Creating a trauma-informed workplace requires (1) a realization of the impact that trauma can have on our lives, (2) a recognition of the signs and symptoms of the effects of trauma, (3) the creation of policies and practices that integrate this understanding, and (4) intentionally resists causing further trauma.

TMP strives to make healing a tangible reality for the employees in the workplaces we build. Many within our target population have faced multiple traumas over the course of their lives, including exploitation and trafficking. There are far-reaching impacts of complex trauma, and numerous adaptations are developed to survive it. The path to healing requires responses and interventions that are not typically found in the workplace. We remain committed to changing that.

 

Creating a Trauma-Informed Workplace

 

Provide Trauma-Awareness Training for Team Leaders

Company culture starts with leadership, so ensuring a safe physical and emotional environment for the whole team is most important. A safe environment means that team leaders are providing appropriate responses to the individual needs of trauma survivors. Managers strive to establish a workplace culture where conversations and training promote a sense of safety.

TMP mentors leaders of the businesses we build to conduct company operations with transparency and make decisions with the goal of maintaining trust among employees and others involved with the company. 

Provide Support Groups for Employees at Every Level

We offer the opportunity for transformative change by utilizing stories and lived experiences through peer support. This promotes recovery and healing, helps establish safety and hope, builds trust, and enhances teamwork. Peer support groups can serve as a model for gaining or regaining one’s voice.

TMP does this through what we call Healing Groups. Through the group sessions, attendees begin to understand and grapple with their own pain, find emotional stability, and ultimately take critical steps in breaking the cycle of trauma

Provide Safe Avenues for Feedback

Help employees regain a sense of control over their daily lives by giving both voice and choice to them. Employees are provided opportunities to make daily decisions and set goals for personal growth and connection. 

TMP helps provide a safe avenue for feedback using a confidential survey of employees, intentionally administered outside of the management structure of the business. The resulting insights into the work culture inform the leadership that further training is needed. 

The semi-annual surveys can also shine a light on the health of the company itself. There are general expectations around being a “Great Place to Work.” We want to add “trauma-informed” to that list.

Provide a Supportive Community for All

Instill trust in fellow workers by establishing a culture where interpersonal interactions promote a sense of emotional safety. Safe, authentic, and positive relationships can be corrective and restorative to survivors of trauma and exploitation. 

Within our businesses, employees’ previous dehumanizing experiences are replaced each day with interactions from management and colleagues that demonstrate respect, safety, and community. As TMP workplaces embrace a trauma-informed ethos, we see the dignity of each person reinforced.

 

Businesses and organizations that embrace these avenues of support for their employees can and will significantly impact a survivor’s recovery process. Creating a trauma-informed, healing workplace is a fluid and ongoing process. But it’s possible and necessary. 

Read more about how The Market Project Stands in the Gap for survivors of complex trauma, trafficking, and exploitation, and join us in the movement to build healing workplaces.

 


 

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The Resiliency of Survivors

“When I joined Nguvu company, I was hopeless. Through trauma healing, my hope is rebuilt … I used to think that I was alone but through trauma healing sessions, I was taught that nobody is alone in the world. I started gaining courage and associating myself with people. Now I have very many friends that I cannot count them one by one.”

Bonny Ojok, a team member employed at Nguvu Dairy in northern Uganda.

An overwhelming, traumatic event that is ongoing or experienced at the hands of another person who is meant to be a caregiver is generally considered a complex trauma. Such traumas as childhood abuse and neglect, abandonment, violent relationships, human trafficking or being kidnapped can leave a person feeling isolated. Men, women and children who have experienced complex traumas often view the world and other people as unsafe and not to be trusted. This lack of trust and a need to be constantly on guard for danger can make it difficult for survivors of trauma to ask for help or form constructive relationships. Some find it difficult to hold down a job.

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The Dignity of Work

Work is a vital part of maintaining and developing our common humanity. We work out of regard for others – not only to benefit our families, but also to benefit the society, the country, and the whole human family to which we belong. We are beneficiaries of the work of generations before us, and through our labors, we also share in building the future of those who will come after us.[1] 

There is also inherent dignity in work. Through work, we not only transform our environs and adapt it to meet our needs; we also obtain a sense of fulfillment as a human being. Work “is not only good in the sense that it is useful or something to enjoy; it is also good as being something worthy, that is to say, something that corresponds to man’s dignity, that expresses this dignity and increases it.”[2] Conversely, without work, we feel adrift, question our abilities and sense of worth, and fear for our future. Men or women have no means of providing for themselves or their families.

One of the world’s greatest crises and challenges today is that almost half the world’s young people are unemployed. Nearly 1 in 3 young people world-wide are not in education, employment or training.[3]

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Support That Provides Stability – Improving Lives One Day at a Time

The Market Project’s innovative business model is responsive to the complex needs of survivors of trauma, trafficking and exploitation. In response to our 2021 employee surveys, The Market Project has committed $75k in 2022 to ensuring that Nguvu Dairy employees have access to nutritious lunches, medical care, and community building activities that help provide additional stability in their lives.

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But For My Job….

Human trafficking. Modern-day slavery. Exploitation. Forcing, trapping, or coercing a woman, child or man into labor, servitude, or commercial sex. Human trafficking is “an abhorrent abuse of power and a profoundly immoral crime that strikes at the safety, health and dignity of millions of people worldwide.”[1] Combatting this scourge involves not only shutting down criminal networkers and prosecuting trafficking crimes, but also addressing the economic and social factors which make people vulnerable to being trafficked.

There are no standard tools for measuring who is at-risk of being trafficked, but The Market Project, working in partnership with Eido Research, a UK-based impact research firm, has developed a framework for measuring vulnerability to trafficking in the northern Ugandan context. 

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