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Leaders of Homenet Southeast Asia, Homenet Thailand, Homenet Laos, and ECCDA shared their advocacy experiences during the workshop convened  by the Asian Roundtable on Social Protection (AROSP) at the Bangkok Cha-Da Hotel, June 15-16.

The workshop allowed participants from Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia, to exchange experiences, as well as to learn advocacy principles and methods towards the development of an advocacy tool kit mainly for workers’ organizations in the subregion.

The Asian Roundtable on Social Protection (AROSP) is a network of grassroots workers’ organisations, trade unions, NGOs, and scholars in Asia that work on the issues of formal and informal workers. AROSP serves as a platform to provide mutual help, facilitate information sharing, and help organisations build their understanding on social protection. As a regional network, it aims to support and consolidate the regional struggle for social protection for the poor across various sectors in Asia.

Suntaree Saeng-ging and Chidchanok Samantrakul     from Homenet Thailand explained the process and the lessons learned in the successful  struggle for universal health care and social security for informal workers  in their country.

Representatives from the Philippines, including Rosalinda Pineda Ofreneo from Homenet Philippines, Julius Cainglet from the Federation of Free Workers, Otto   de Vries from EILER, and Nica  from LEARN presented infographics regarding the advocacy process for universal health care, expanded maternity leave, unemployment insurance, and social pension for older persons, These infographics illustrated the lead groups and stakeholders, the barriers encountered, and the methods used to overcome these barriers.

Lamphan of Homenet Laos, Khanthone of ECCDA and Phetvilay Phommesay  of Oxfam Laos teamed up to discuss the current stage of advocacy for social protection mechanisms in Laos.

Colleagues from Vietnam discussed efforts to push for social protection policy to cover migrant workers not registered in host cities, while those in Indonesia shared a very important case study of how organized women in communities were able to mobilize and demonstrate to gain access to health care that they are entitled to by law  at village level.

After discussing the elements, principles, processes, and methods relevant to social protection advocacy, the group agreed on a basic outline of the contents of the toolkit . A Technical Working Group consisting of Suntaree Saengging, Rosalinda Pineda Ofreneo, and a Vietnamese colleague was formed to help in the writing and editing.

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