WHAT IS EMPOWERMENT? AND HOW DO WE BUILD JOB SEEKER AND WORKER POWER?
Empowerment means an increased control and mastery, meaning that people are better able to deal with the forces that affect their lives and have greater capacity to deal with the day-to-day challenges of life without being overwhelmed by them.
For job seekers and workers an important part of becoming empowered is being knowledgeable, understanding their rights and being recognized as decision makers. While our Issara Academy programs support the capacity building of different stakeholders and duty bearers, our Empowerment Incubator program aims to build job seeker and worker power through education, training, and worker voice. As part of the program, job seekers and workers in Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia receive training on labour rights, leadership skills, behaviour change model, and how they as empowered individuals can support others in their communities to also build their capacity and create community power.
CSOs partners from Myanmar joined an ambassador training to exchange knowledge and experiences and talk about strategies to reduce risks for prospective migrants
Migrant workers in Thailand interested in learning more about their rights, leadership skills and empowerment join the ambassadors program to receive tailored training and build their capacity
Ambassadors learn more about Golden Dreams 2.0, its different features and how to share the app with others in their community and workplace
JOINING FORCES TO COMBAT LABOUR EXPLOITATION AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING
With generous support from Walmart Foundation, Issara Institute has been able to invest intensively in supporting an exciting, emerging civil society network in Myanmar aiming to improve trafficking victim services and make a measurable reduction in exploitative recruitment. Trade unions, faith-based organizations, grassroots rights groups, and research and advocacy NGOs working across the country have joined forces to connect jobseekers across Myanmar with ethical recruitment agencies, cut out exploitative middlemen, and shift the paradigm of the victim services framework from (over) protection to empowerment.
In 2020, with the generous support from Laudes Foundation, Issara Institute was able to provide sub-grants to CSOs partners in Cambodia for them to conduct awareness-raising activities with the behaviour change model and empowerment approaches as part of their programs and at the same time contributing to Issara’s Institute Empowerment Incubator program. As part of this partnership activities, job seekers and community leaders receive training on safe migration and empowerment which allow them to actively identify and prevent exploitation in their personal experiences and support others in their communities as well. The partnership with CSOs in Cambodia will continue to exist and expand as Issara Institute aims to join forces to tackle force labour and human trafficking.
Our partners in Cambodia help promote Golden Dreams 2.0 (Subin Issara for the Khmer version) for jobseekers to be able to access reliable information they need before, during and after the migration process
Ratanamahal's work in the provinces to promote jobseeker empowerment though education
Returnee workers that join the ambassador's program in Myanmar share their experiences with prospective migrants and provide recommendations about living and working in Thailand
WHY IS EMPOWERMENT CRITICAL TO ETHICAL RECRUITMENT?
The process of ethical recruitment involves a number of actors in different levels starting from jobseekers, to recruitment agencies, to businesses, and then to buyers. Understanding the risks jobseekers can face during the first mile of the process of recruitment and in its efforts to mitigate those risks and generate changes in the behaviour, Issara Institute, along with its 15 grassroots partners from the Myanmar CSO Network to End Trafficking - CSO-NET - started implementing a plan to educate and empower migrant workers. Issara Institute and the CSO-NET educate jobseekers and returnees about their rights, the do's and don’ts in the countries of destination, and the costs, timeframes, and processes to migrate through legal channels. In addition, by introducing our Golden Dreams smartphone app, migrant workers can access all relevant information they need to migrate and they can request for further assistance if needed. Issara Institute and CSO-NET have further created a network of over 500 ambassadors, primarily seasoned returnees and engaged community organizers, located in 12 states and regions (53 townships) in Myanmar.
Hearing the views of returned fishermen in Myanmar
Educating prospective migrants and linking them directly to registered recruitment agencies and information about costs and processes of recruitment
CSOs partners in Myanmar are helping rural jobseekers know how to find jobs without paying excessive fees to informal brokers