OTHERS IS THE SALVATION ARMY'S GLOBAL SOCIAL ENTERPRISE, USING FAIR TRADE AS A TOOL FOR JOB CREATION, EMPOWERMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION.
We believe that all people have equal dignity, and that everyone shares the same desire to be able to provide for themselves and their family. However, far too many lack the opportunity to find a job, or are forced to work under poor working conditions. By creating flexible jobs with fair wages and access to international markets, we wish to do our part in giving more people access to decent employment. A particular priority for us is to ensure that women are given access to paid employment and the opportunity to earn their own income.
Our producers are primarily recruited through The Salvation Army's local programs in the producer countries, including projects for economic development in villages or urban slum areas, work with women's groups in both urban and rural settings, or specific projects related to rehabilitation of sex workers and victims of trafficking. Presently, Others has active production groups in Bangladesh and Kenya, where the former is our biggest producer country and has been part of the Others program since the beginning in 1997. There are currently around 760 producers in Bangladesh who are involved in production for Others.
All products are hand-made, or include some element of manual work. Some of our production groups consist of full-time employees, while many consist of part-time workers who are paid on a piecework basis. This allows us to be inclusive, and provide income-opportunities also for example for mothers who need to combine work with child-care. For some of our producers, working for Others becomes their first experience with paid employment. For us, an important principle is that the wages should fairly reflect the work that the producer puts into each product. Our producers generally use the income that they get from Others to cover daily needs, but also to invest in savings, livestock and education for their children. The wage levels are determined by the local Others operations, always exceed local minimum standards, and are regulated annually.
In work lies hope for a better future, a pathway to independence, and – not least – dignity and pride. Others is one of the ways in which the international Salvation Army today continues to strive to create employment opportunities for people who would otherwise be at the back of the queue.
Others is a commercial enterprise, where the most important values are those of connecting people across borders, and creating opportunities for others. We call it "Trade for Hope".