HomeNet SEA led a CIDA-SEAGEP-supported project on the documentation of social protection schemes in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. The project aimed to collect information on existing programs of social welfare, social insurance, and social assistance among workers in the informal economy in the three countries. The project has helped the three national HomeNets to review and compare the existing social protection schemes and enabled them to draw lessons and analyze the gaps in the schemes. The project was completed in book form by the three researcher-writers: Doanoi Srikajorn ( Thailand), Hesti Wijaya (Indonesia) and Lucita Lazo ( Philippines) who also served as the editor.
HomeNet Thailand, in 2001, initiated a pilot social protection scheme in Chiangmai. The homeworkers in the area began their health insurance scheme, with 110 members contributing their own fees. The financial support from UNIFEM for the pilot project was used for administration, as well as for the preparation and training of the leaders. Prior to setting up the scheme, a working group did a feasibility study covering eight private insurance companies and three hospitals.
In the Philippines, PATAMABA has been supporting alternative and indigenous social protection schemes – Paluwagan and Damayan. In Damayan, each member contributes a certain amount when a member dies. In Paluwagan (pooled money), each member pays a certain amount, agreed upon by all the members. The pooled money is then taken alternately by the members, who draw lots to determine the first beneficiary.
In the year 2002, it was the Philippines’ turn to initiate a pilot social protection scheme with UNIFEM support. This would require actions at several levels including technical studies to outline different options for providing social protection to home-based workers; policy support to address the overall policy framework that would affect home-based workers ability to sustain such schemes; and brokering of strategic alliances between home-based workers organizations and cooperatives, government agencies and the private sector including insurance companies and business people.
In the area of research towards policy advocacy, HomeNet Thailand and PATAMABA (HomeNet Philippines) conducted a case study on the garments industry in the two countries, focusing on social protection for workers in the informal economy. The results of the case study were presented in a technical consultative workshop in April 2002 convened by the ILO-STEP, WIEGO, and the World Bank in Chamonix, France. The two Homenet SEA coordinators served as presenters and discussants in the workshop.