All five PO were included quite extensively, during three weeks of field visits in Chennai and Karur (Tamil Nadu), Kerala, Patna (Bihar) and Mumbai. Meetings were also held with the two research members consulting to conduct the study of the decent living income synergy.
Main points and recommendations from Asia Coordinator perspective
In general, I believe quite a positive view came from the synergy, both with regards to the way partners chose and plan concerning a specific theme, as concerning the support from WSM. If anything, more resources should be allocated to this segment of the program. India has quite an interesting synergy, seeing the diversity and geographical spread of the PO but also their willingness to take on such ambitious endeavors like conducting a more scientific study themselves or launch with own means into supporting a post card campaign regarding Domestic workers, an area from the previous programme political action which is somewhat of a success story for WSM.
- Domestic Work: lobbying for ILC 189 ratification by India and national legislation regarding DW went on with very little funds, only covering training costs for leaders (and not the grass root level training as initially planned). Despite the limited funds, PO were very motivated to contribute after the training and did so by committing to mobilize their members to participate in the post card campaign addressed to the Prime Minister with the two main demands from NDWM. Building on the expertise and synergy from the previous programme, NDWM ensured the lead, AREDS the financial management. This synergy seems much appreciated by NDWM and other PO, though the understanding of the issue was not ensured everywhere, which reflected the respective capacities of the PO to mobilize at the grass root level.
- Decent Living Income: all the field work (surveys and focus group discussions) have been finalized after significant delays, especially in the north. Currently, the research team is gathering extra documentation and secondary sources, also from lobby work of the PO on state level, which is slow in coming. Some encouraging things were already shared, like how some of the PO took certain actions due to having been involved with the research.
Illustration: CWM after conducting certain focus group discussions with agricultures, organized a follow up seminar. Afterwards, they approached the state horticulture commission and got access to training. Next, they started up an income generating group with mushroom cultivation, and obtained access to seeds support from government schemes, and promoting vegetables for own kitchen/garden and consumption. Similarly, construction workers after the process of the focus group discussion founded a CWM unit and were integrated as members to CWM, which consequently enrolled the members to the welfare board.
The partners mentioned the study helped them to:
- Learn more about conducting surveys and research;
- Reach out to sectors they traditionally were less involved with;
- Contribute to social protection directly: promote and facilitate access to certain social protection schemes.
2. TOOLS FROM CATEGORY 3:
1. Steering Committee: bit too early to tell yet, but definitely has potential and should be maintained as a structure during the next programme. Members could play a more active role with regards to the communication (blog and newsletter), international political action and exchanges.
2. South-south exchanges: only two took place, but it seems appreciated by the partners involved. It needs to be fine-tuned and supported more. If we continue with one-on-one specific look and learn visits, it might have to be better supported to ensure specific demands for capacity strengthening are met. Otherwise, regarding an expertise from one PO who invites others to share on a theme (eg. Youth for GEFONT). Or, another possibility is to adapt a similar approach as ACV-CSC formula for south-south exhcanges, which is more evolved and could be applied during the next programme.
3. North-south exchanges: less input from India in this field, as it has been used mostly regarding garment workers – clean clothes and thus focus on Bangladesh).
4. Newsletter W—Connect: variable. Some appreciate and read, others only have vague notions. Ideally, more ownership is needed, through for instance the Steering Committee drafting, issues focusing on specific issues, and more contributions from WSM are welcomed.
5. International Political Action: clearly strong potential (eg. Domestic Workers ILO 189 previous programme) and appreciated, though Steering Committee should steer this more. The ILO consultation tool regarding the informal economy came forward as a strong and relevant issue, for all PO.
6. Capacity strengthening maxi approach: quite strongly appreciated by NDWM and AREDS, moderately by CFTUI and CWM. Could be continued on voluntary basis in-house only with interested PO or with the synergies as a whole.
7. Support from WSM on the methodology tools: usually found satisfying. Formats have changed and required some getting used to. Very relevant for certain partners, which mention the formalities to respect as strengthening.