Thirty one homebased workers (HBWs) and advocates from Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia and India gathered in scenic Crown Peak Hotel, Subic, Zambales, Philippines to present the results of the mapping project and the analyses of the data collected; to exchange the lessons learned from the mapping exercise; and to plan for follow-up activities at the national and regional levels.
UNIFEM-ESE-ASIA, represented by Amalin Sundarajev (Program Officer), sponsored the two-day workshop convened by Homenet Southeast Asia on October 19-20 2002. Serving as keynote speakers were Carmelita Ericta, head of the Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board; and Lucy Lazo, then still Undersecretary of Labor.
In connection with the Asia-wide UNIFEM project “Strengthening the Network of Homeworkers”, Homenet Southeast Asia defined mapping “as an activity done in support of organizing homeworkers by obtaining baseline information in aid of identifying the appropriate entry points, interventions, approaches, and strategies as well as of designing action programs to promote their welfare and well being and in advocating policies for their social protection.”
While this definition gave the different networks the general framework by which the mapping activities were to be done, each had the freedom to determine the specific methodology, tools and techniques of data gathering that are appropriate to the situation and needs of the homeworkers and organizations. (Summaries of the Indonesian, Philippine and Thai presentations can be found in the succeeding pages).
Participants were divided into two groups and discussed their views on the common issues/ actions/ programs that they could pursue together at the sub-regional level. They also explored how Homenet SEA could help each country network and how each country could contribute to the activities (programs) and sustainability of Homenet SEA.
Among the issues they identified were invisibility, lack of access to resources (market, capital, technology, and support for organizing), and social protection.
To improve visiblity, the following were suggested: expanding and strengthening national networks; networking with other networks; coverage of more countries (e.g. Laos); representation at international level; campaign on national statistics; working more with media; publication of SEA Homenet newsletters; creation of videos and websites.
Suggested actions/programs to improve access to resources included product innovation and cataloguing, exchange of products, trade fair cum workshop on marketing, funders’ exposure to HBWs, development of website/ e-commerce, setting up of display centers, and exchange of products, skills, technologies and visits.
As regards social protection, suggestions were to hold campaigns at national and international levels (e.g., for the ratification of ILO Convention 177 on Homework), do baseline studies, convene a subregional workshop, conduct training on insurance and development of indigenous schemes, and exchange experiences on how to access social protection from government.