THE ISSARA MODEL
We are on the ground, speaking the many languages and dialects of job seekers and workers in Southeast Asia. Being on the ground and trusted allows us to cross-check and verify emerging issues, and also safeguard workers reporting and/or suffering abuses.
Partnerships with global brands and retailers open up opportunities to engage with their suppliers, the recruiters working with those suppliers, and the workers within these workplaces. Strong partners create space for worker voice to be heard and responded to in a safe, timely, and responsible manner.
Southeast Asian workers have smartphones and are savvy. Issara develops technologies to help to educate job seekers and workers, and empower worker voice. We build it ourselves in-house to ensure worker-centered design and ethical handling of sensitive data.
UNDERSTANDING WORKER VOICE
Worker engagement is not necessarily worker voice; even worker feedback is not necessarily worker voice. Worker polls, whether high-tech or low, are not worker voice, and can sometimes even supplant or crowd out true worker voice, with adverse consequences for workers.
So what IS worker voice and why is it so important for global supply chains? To find out, please read our two key reports on worker voice!
Issara team @ origin: Myanmar
Issara team @ destination: Thailand
Issara team @ destination: Malaysia
Issara teams operate in the origin and destination countries, and are the nationalities of both the workers and the employers & recruiters. As experts in worker outreach & education and also business & human rights, we serve as an important bridge to help empower worker voices throughout the entire migrant journey, and also drive more responsible remediation of worker issues and concerns.
issara's theory of change
Issara Institute's impact since its inception in 2014 can best be understood within its behaviour change and systems change-focused theory of change. It recognizes that there are only 3 key actors directly involved in the act and process of labour exploitation and human trafficking within global supply chains, and it seeks to directly intervene and disrupt harmful behaviours and systems while empowering positive behaviours and systems. The 3 actors are:
The people being exploited (job seekers and workers);
The people doing the exploiting (recruiters and employers); and,
The people mandated to stop the exploitation - that is, the duty bearers (government and global brands and retailers).
Issara Institute's goal is to eliminate labour exploitation, including forced labour and human trafficking, within global supply chains, starting with those connected to Southeast Asia. The Institute's objectives in the theory of change relate to the actors listed above:
Objective 1. Worker voice and empowerment. Job seekers and workers actively identify and avoid exploitation.
Objective 2. Supply chain transformation. Recruiters and employers stop exploiting job seekers and workers.
Objective 3. Supply chain and ecosystem transformation. Global brands and retailers, and government, actively stop exploitation and human trafficking.
Our 6 programs all work toward these 3 objectives in an inter-related manner, engaging with all of these key stakeholder groups in a direct and meaningful way, and - importantly - bringing them together as well, including workers, to drive transparency and more effective action to address the real situations, challenges, and opportunities that exist in Southeast Asian supply chains. Read more about the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration here.