During the Subregional Workshop on Social Protection, Prof. Benja Jirapatpimol presented the results of the Thai research study involving 933 respondents in four regions. A survey, life stories, and key informant interviews were utilized to surface risks and vulnerabilities of women homeworkers, their conditions within the household and the family, how they are addressing such risks and their methods of accessing social protection at the village level.
Findings show that the Universal Health Coverage policy and the 30 Baht Health Care Scheme are effective and accessible especially for the poor. The Village Fund is not very beneficial because the amount of loan is rather small and not quite substantial for investment. The Funeral Fund has not been very effective either, and a majority are not officially registered except for one (Pre-Chao-ta-knew) which has systematized its collection procedure. Findings on the Credit Union Project show that the majority of villagers, except in the southern part, l do not appreciate the importance of savings. Thus, more campaigns to raise awareness about savings are needed to lessen the economic risks of homeworkers.
Surfacing from the research was the reality that homeworkers, particularly those who live in rural areas more than those in the urban, try to help one another in times of need. The relational ties or bonding among neighbors and relatives in a community is evident in the creation of two schemes that promote the common welfare – the funeral fund and the village fund.
Recommendations revolve around knowledge and skills enhancement of home-based workers and on the strengthening of their networks. Also, intensive campaigns to push for direct involvement of home-based workers in government-supported social protection schemes will be a continuing program. (For more information on the Thai research findings visit the www.homenetseasia.org website).