Areas of Work
Areas of Work
With ‘Strength in Solidarity’ as its guiding principle, HomeNet South Asia pursues an agenda of empowerment for women, home-based workers across South Asia. We ensure that this agenda is responsive, democratic, and representative. These are the key areas we pursue initiatives and programmes in:
Visibility And Voice
In South Asia, home-based workers form a vital part of the informal economy. However, they remain unrecognised by Governments, policy makers, and, even, the general public. HNSA works towards bringing visibility to economically and socially disadvantaged home-based workers. We work to strengthen their collective voice so that it is heard across regional, national, and international platforms. We also advocate for and influence policies, programmes, and legislative frameworks that address the concerns and needs of home-based workers.
Networking And Cross-Country Learning
Globalisation has resulted in insecure and unstable employment for home-based workers. As a regional network, we encourage micro and macro learning initiatives amongst our member organisations. We constantly build and strengthen the links between organisations and ensure exchange of ideas, strategies, and best practices that, in turn, empower women home-based workers and help them improve their lives and livelihoods.
Organising And Capacity Building
Our member-organisations, who often work at the grassroot-level, often face difficulties when it comes to optimising their potential and efficiency. They face roadblocks in many spheres - from organising and establishing their organisation to promoting capacities and building leadership. Accessing financial resources also remains a key challenge for them. HNSA helps its member organisations overcome these challenges. By providing technical expertise and enabling capacity building, we back them in the areas of organising home-based workers, building membership-based organisations, and enhancing leadership skills. Our efforts are also directed towards improving governance and organising home-based workers on issues like collective bargaining, gender-based violence, access to basic services, and social security. We actively organise dialogue programmes that result in exposure for our members and create partnerships between stakeholders. Additionally, we engage with our members in the areas of strategy development, resource mobilisation, and networking.
Advocacy And Engagement
Home-based workers are largely seen as working on a hobby or to ‘pass time’. However, they are in fact, contributors to their nation’s economy, their community, and their families. Their work and contributions go unrecognised largely because they remain invisible and unrecognised as workers. This leaves them without a voice at the societal, political, and economic levels. With the backing of ILO’s Convention 177 on Home Work and national policies for home-based work, we strive towards changing this scenario. We strongly advocate for the identity and recognition of home-based workers as workers, for their voice to be heard and for their rights including social protection. We also engage with local urban bodies to ensure a good governance agenda that includes feasible interventions in urban planning, housing and basic infrastructure.
Statistics And Research
We recognise that a key aspect to ensuring the visibility of home-based workers is by convincing various stakeholders to acknowledge their presence, their contributions, and their issues and concerns. There is also a pressing need to provide feasible and sustainable solutions to the challenges that they face. But HNSA realises that this will only be possible when there are reliable statistics, preferably gathered by government agencies, on home-based workers. We also undertake academic research and set agendas with our members. Studies undertaken by HNSA push for the recognition of HBWs in domestic and global supply chains in order to ensure decent work and fair wages.
Market Linkages And Economic Security
Home-based workers find it difficult to attain economic security because of irregular work and low wages or piece rate. On one hand, the self-employed, own-account workers do not have access to market intelligence nor to competitive markets. On the other hand, home-workers are routinely exploited by middlemen and sub-contractors. HNSA develops programmes that focus on skill building. It also nurtures organising efforts that result in home-based workers voicing their concerns and negotiating better terms for themselves. We also back initiatives that create access to markets, build social enterprises, and promote ethical supply chains.
Social Security And Intervention Portfolio
Home-based workers have poor access to all kinds of social security especially healthcare, insurance, pensions, maternity benefits and childcare. The lack of social security adversely hampers the productivity of home-based workers. Additionally, HBWs usually live in informal settlements that largely lack basic services like toilets, individual water connections, electricity, paved roads, and drainage. Since home is the work place for home-based workers, affordable, adequate and secure housing is of prime concern. While some government programmes exist, they are rarely geared towards the needs of home-based workers. Our programmes facilitate access to housing, social security schemes and also improve their living conditions.