July 2018. The Issara team works with Managing Director Tun Min Latt of the Burmese recruitment agency International Focus to prepare for a mid-term assessment with one of their Thai tuna cannery partners, as a part of Issara's Ethical Recruitment program. Feedback from workers, received by Issara, helps recruitment agencies to understand workers' experiences and realities within their recruitment channels, throughout their entire migration and overseas work experience.
SAMUT SAKHON & YANGON
July 2018. Issara Institute and Brown University's British Academy-funded study of technology, worker voice, and remediation continued this month, with Issara's worker voice operations in Myanmar and Thailand being assessed by Dr Elena Shih (Brown U) and Aaron Halegua (NYU Law). Interviews so far have included other programs and tools in the worker voice field globally, including Contratados (Mexico), Worker Connect (Gulf), Shuvayatra (Nepal), and LaborVoices (Bangladesh, Turkey, Argentina).
July 2018. Issara's Burmese team in Bangkok hosted a meeting with local grassroots organizations working to promote the rights of Burmese migrant workers in Thailand.
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
June 2018. An Issara team meets with the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) to explore collaboration to strengthen support to Burmese, Cambodian, and Thai workers in Malaysia.
May 2018. What tools and indicators can measure how much we are empowering our clients? With support from Walmart Foundation, Issara Institute and CSO Network partners from across Myanmar have developed exciting new tools for psychometric measures of empowerment that are being trialed through June - stay tuned to learn about the key findings and the tools themselves!
May 2018. Issara's grassroots network reaches men, women, and families in rural communities with high levels of out-migration across Myanmar every week. Getting Issara's Golden Dreams app and Facebook on their phones connects them to critical information before they ever leave their home village...and hopefully before they pay any fees to brokers.
May 2018. The Issara Myanmar team has created a number of new Burmese-language mini-training videos for migrant workers, shared with our almost 90,000 followers. Check them out on Facebook @MyanmarIssara!
April 2018. The Issara team meets with local CSO and government anti-trafficking responders at the Poipet Transit Center. Together we explored Issara's detailed insights into labour outcomes and risks for Cambodian migrant workers, and the regularly changing legal and policy framework. The Issara Cambodia team hopes to help inform the safe migration initiatives of Cambodia-based organizations based on the realities that we see and intervene on everyday.
April 2018. Pentland Brands and Issara Institute co-presented on Detecting Labour Abuses to a jam-packed room at the 3rd Modern Slavery and Human Rights in Supply Chains conference hosted by Front Group. Happy to share real hard work, progress, and collaboration with others engaged in responsible sourcing globally!
March 2018. Thailand's new laws and policies promoting recruitment of foreign workers through the formal MOU channel has been challenging to large exporting businesses across many industries, particularly in agriculture - and even more difficult for SMEs, including smaller farms and plants that may be in global supply chains. How will they manage to adapt and stay compliant? Issara Labs is now exploring this, through talking with SME business owners and hearing their side of the story.
NAY PYI TAW, MYANMAR
April 2018. Issara's workshop on Understanding Risks and Building Safeguards for Migrants in the Thai Fishing Industry was opened by Union Minister H.E. U Thein Shwe, sharing the political will to have legal channels to send migrant workers into the Thai fishing industry. Workshop participants, including parliamentarians, government, World Bank, labour unions, U.S. Embassy, and NGOs discussed collaboration with Issara on safeguards, remediation, and ethical recruitment.
February 2018. 50 songthaews are now advertising the Issara worker voice channels in Ranong, on the Thai-Myanmar border, where hundreds of thousands of Burmese work, live, and transit through every month.
Outreach and assistance to workers in Thailand, day or night. When serious issues arise in supplier workplaces within Issara partner supply chains, the team is in touch 24/7 as needed through the remediation process - whether assisting remotely or in person, as seen here.
In Yangon, some Burmese recruitment agencies sending workers to Thai businesses within Issara partner supply chains collaborate with Issara to get workers prepared for Thailand. They learn about their rights, receive materials and references, and they get Issara's worker voice channels programmed on their phones. Recruitment agencies have recognized the benefits of having their workers at destination have a reliable means of reaching out for assistance.
MYANMAR & THAILAND
As of January 2018, monthly calls and messages to Issara via Facebook, Line, Viber, and the Golden Dreams app surpassed numbers of calls via the more 'traditional' 24-hour helpline. Smartphone saturation amongst migrant workers and jobseekers has led to quick adoption of Issara's smartphone-oriented worker voice channels.