Homeworker-members from Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, and Lao P.D.R. renewed ties with sister HomeNets at the Southeast Asia Regional Assembly held at the Asia Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand on 22 – 23 October 2005. The approval of Homenet SEA’s Constitution and By-Laws, the election of officers and members of the subregional council, and the joint mapping of future plans and directions for the year 2006 at the subregional level were the highlights of the Assembly.
The Constitution and By-Laws of HomeNet SEA will be registered in Manila. As agreed upon during Assembly, the format and other requirements relative to its registration must conform with Philippine law. Below is an excerpt from HomeNet SEA’s Vision – Mission statements:
The empowered homeworkers realize their economic, political, and social rights through the strengthening of their own organizations and networks, the improvement of their working and living conditions, the enjoyment of income and employment security including social protection, and participation in governance related to homeworkers’ concerns.
To enable organized homeworkers to democratically run and manage institutionalized and self-sustaining organizations and networks at the sub-regional and national levels that will allow them to enjoy better working conditions and standards of living, attain higher income, steadier employment, and access to social protection; and to ensure that their issues and concerns are better addressed in the policies and programs of governments, international agencies, and civil society organizations, and that their representatives gain greater visibility and participation in various levels of governance, than when they were unorganized.
For year 2006, the plans and directions of HomeNet SEA were discussed during the Subregional Assembly, summarized below as:
Towards the Legal Establishment of HomeNet SEA
HomeNet SEA will soon acquire a legal personality as its approved Constitution and By-laws will be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Manila, Philippines.
Group formation and strengthening of mass-based groups have been the thrust of PATAMABA (Philippines), HomeNet Indonesia, and HomeNet Thailand in pursuance of expanding the organization of homeworkers’ networks. Being eyed for affiliation are groups in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, (PATAMABA had preliminary talks with some women leaders from Vietnam, and Homenet Thailand will establish linkages with Cambodian groups, as it has done with Laotian groups).
Capability Building and Strengthening
HomeNet South Asia will conduct an institutional-building workshop at the national coordinators’ level in New Delhi in the first quarter of 2006. Homenet SEA has been invited to send one participant from each country. National Homenets will continue conducting capability building programs as part of strengthening their networks.
With UNIFEM and Oxfam programs about to end in 2006, alternative sources of funding and possibilities of establishing linkages with NGOs sharing the same vision as HomeNet SEA’s must be explored.
There will be a subregional workshop on fair trade and marketing in Manila sometime October 2006 to coincide with the annual meeting of the Subregional Council. The Homenet Southeast Asia Newsmagazine will continue to come out twice a year and the website will be updated on a quarterly basis.
National HomeNets will work jointly on the following issues: Approval of ILO Convention 177 on Homework ; Country Program and the Magna Carta for the Informal Sector (in the case of the Philippines); Labor Protection Laws (advocacy and campaigns for the coverage of informal workers and home-based workers); Ministerial Regulation to Protect Homeworkers (heighten and if possible, dramatize campaigns in order to attract the attention of lawmakers and governments); Statistical Visibility (to push for the inclusion of homeworkers in national statistics); Microfinance (continuous networking with various institutions for provision of microfinance services to homeworkers) ; Child Care (advocacy for longer time of child care so that women can perform home-based work in a safe manner without hazard to the child); Fair Trade for informal workers in the context of the WTO (to prepare a position paper for the WTO ministerial meeting, with the theme “make trade work for people, and not against the poor”).
Elected Members of the Homenet SEA Subregional Council: (behind, left to right) Duangduan Kamchai, Kanoknart Ngamnetra, Boonsom Namsomboon, Sujin Rungsawang (proxy for Somkid Dungeon), Primar Jardeleza, Josephine “Olive” Parilla, and Lourdes “Baby” Gula; (front, left to right) Cecile Susiloretno, Sutarti, Hesti Wijaya, Rosalinda “Inday” Ofreneo.