EMPOWERING MIGRANTS AGAINST HIV/AIDS TOGETHER

 

 

 

 

 

             
 

Introduction

Migration is no longer temporary. It is multidimensional, multi-sectoral and regional in character. In recognizing the changing patterns in migration, the migrant worker is becoming younger and coming from the remotest villages of our countries. Migration is also a continuum where the conditions and realities added with the experiences of the migrant worker at each stage of migration impacts on the lives of migrants and their families.

CARAM Asia's involvement in the region and through its participatory action research initiatives on AIDS and mobility reveals that migrant workers are seen as economic tools, policies tend to be developed to control the migrant worker and migrant workers are marginalized in various HIV/AIDS programmes.

The initiatives and interventions to reduce HIV/AIDS vulnerability in the migration process must begin with recognizing the migrant worker as a human person with needs, feelings, warmth, rights and dignity. Equally there is a need to work collectively towards creating an enabling environment at all stages of migration with the migrant worker.

CARAM Asia believes that commitment to reducing HIV/AIDS in the migration process with migrant workers and their families can only be realized if we address:

-development strategies within globalization;

-promote and protect the rights of migrant workers;

-put people before profits

-strengthen the migrant perspective; and

-create partnerships regionally and globally to realize the goals to empower migrants, their families and communities in the fight against AIDS with an open mind and holistic approach.

CARAM's Mission

To empower migrant workers and their communities through the promotion and protection of their rights and the creation of an enabling environment at all stages of migration to reduce HIV/AIDS vulnerability.

To realize our commitment, CARAM's goals and objectives are:

-Production of information on health status and vulnerability of migrant workers to HIV/AIDS

-Development of grassroots or community based interventions to conscientize and empower migrants and their communities to resist and fight HIV/AIDS

-Strengthening of advocacy especially policy development to ensure an enabling environment for migrant workers and to promote and protect migrant rights in order to reduce HIV/AIDS vulnerability

-Initiation and development of action research models with migrants to collect data for effective advocacy to realize change at various levels.

Programs

ACTION RESEARCH

CARAM partner's key thrust is to develop continuous information through participatory action research with migrants and their communities at all stages of migration. The action research strengthens the migrant perspective. It also bridges the gap in interventions within the HIV/AIDS discourse linking health to development strategies. Since action research is dialectical and has a circular process, CARAM Asia is challenged by new research question, which demand continuous information and action. Thus action research is a key thrust/program with CARAM's partners. The research is supported by the Section Health Care and Culture of the Faculty of Medicine of the Vrije Universiteit in the Netherlands.

COMMUNITY BASED INTERVENTIONS

CARAM Asia's fight against HIV/AIDS is rooted in our actions and interventions with communities at the grassroots level. Arising from the information developed through action research, migrants and their communities are empowered to resist HIV/AIDS. Some of CARAM Asia's innovative programs are:

-pre departure programmes on reproductive health for domestic workers in Cambodia;

-reintegration program for returnees and peer educators development in Bangladesh;

-seafarers spouse program in Philippines;

-development of legal support and rights education in Malaysia; and

-radio programmme and violence against women programme for Burmese migrants in Thailand.

ADVOCACY

Change and efforts to reduce vulnerability cannot come through with migrant workers alone. Various stakeholders involved in the migration process at national and regional have to be involved, particularly in the development of effective policies and regulations. CARAM Asia with its partners has dialogued, campaigned and developed tools to sensitize the different stakeholders on HIV/AIDS and mobility and bring policy changes nationally and regionally. This will be an ongoing process as new challenges come in changing realities within different countries and sub regions in Asia.

REGIONAL NETWORK

CARAM Asia has programmes in over 10 countries in South East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. It has an organization as its focal point or partner in each country for production of information, community based interventions, advocacy and in building of broad national networks of organizations concerned with HIV/AIDS and mobility. The national initiatives are then strengthened through regional actions, information exchange and partnerships for regional awareness, advocacy and campaigns.

THE PARTNERSHIP

Through its regional secretariat in Malaysia, CARAM Asia, provides information to its partner and other interested organizations and agencies; takes the lead in designing international interventions and undertakes regional advocacy work. CARAM Asia is part of the Seven-Sisters Network on HIV/AIDS and works to bring the mobility and HIV/AIDS agenda to other regional networks of women, migrants, workers and various community based groups. CARAM Asia has also developed regional partnerships with various United Nations agencies such as IOM and ILO to move its agenda on mobility and HIV/AIDS.

CARAM Asia will continue with greater fervour to develop information, interventions and partnerships with migrant workers in the struggle against HI/AIDS as globalization brings adverse realities to our communities and our lives.