Category Archives: MMN Activities
Press release: Mekong Migration Network launches the illustrated book “Dragon Lake” and lesson plans on the history of migration
On 27 and 28 October 2014, the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) in collaboration with the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Chulalongkorn University, and the Foundation for Migrants from the Mekong Neighbourhood held a Mekong Symposium on Migration titled “Embracing Diversity: Seeking Multicultural Values and Mutual Understanding.” The symposium was attended by over 50 people including representatives from the Thai Ministry of Education, community based organisations, international NGOs, intergovernmental organisations, educational institutions and universities.
The symposium theme was a follow through from the Symposium on Living Together organised by MMN in February 2013, which focused on the issues of integration and social cohesion of migrants in the Mekong region. The Symposium on Embracing Diversity this week focused on the need for understanding multicultural values in order to achieve social cohesion, peace and human security in the region. Participants agreed that it is important to promote multiculturalism and that teaching this value in schools would help cultivate tolerance and celebrate diversity throughout society.
Also discussed at the Symposium were the specific challenges faced by migrants in the Mekong region, including limited educational and work opportunities, exploitation and abuse, and social problems such as discrimination, stigma, and social exclusion.
During the symposium, two educational materials developed by the MMN were launched. The first was an illustrated book for children aged 6-7 years old, entitled “Dragon Lake.” The story follows a community of dragons who have a variety of characteristics and explores the importance of living together with neighbours who have different ways of life. The story is written in Thai, Burmese, Shan, Khmer, Lao, and English. The second educational material launched was a set of lesson plans on the history of migration in the Mekong region for children aged 10-11. Through participating in these interactive lessons, children are expected to learn that migration has always been a natural part of human history and continues to form an integral part of today’s interconnected world.
Representatives of Thailand’s Office of the Basic Education Commission fully participated in the Symposium. In response to the introduction of the above-mentioned educational materials, they stated that they were very inspired by the development of such materials, and that they believed that learning about migration was very important for children in the region. They also stated that the lessons on the history of migration could be integrated very well into the Thai curriculum on social studies.
The Symposium ended with participants proposing several future key actions that they would work on in order to further the aim of promoting social inclusion of migrants and celebrating the benefits of diversity. These included the following:
1. Develop an animated film version of the picture book “Dragon Lake” to enable wider circulation;
2. Develop more illustrated books on migration for children, including for children who stay in their countries of origin;
3. Advocate for the recognition of teachers in migrant learning centres and the provision of teaching and lesson planning materials for them;
4. With the aim of rolling out the lesson plan in all GMS countries, participant organisations will review current relevant initiatives in their home countries and hold consultations.
Secretariat Chiang Mai office: +(66)53 283259
PDF versions of the PowerPoints presentations are available below:
Dragon Lake Book Feedback Forms
Employment agencies could be facing a conflict of interest in taking over the training of Myanmar citizens preparing to work overseas, a migrant workers’ advocate has warned.
Reiko Harima, managing director of the Asian Migrant Centre, said the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agency Federation (MOEAF) increased their members’ profits by sending more workers overseas, and so was “unlikely” to provide information that might deter them from going.
Pre-departure training, which is conducted in Yankin township, Yangon, is meant to inform migrants of the labour laws and cultural norms of the countries they are being sent to. Previously run by the Ministry of Labour, the MOEAF began conducting the courses on August 31.
“Employment agencies are unlikely to provide information that might put migrants off going overseas,” such as details of low pay and long hours, Ms Harima said.
She said the decision to allow employment agencies to regulate much of the migration process in Indonesia and Cambodia, which send thousands of workers abroad each year, had negatively affected prospective workers.
“These include recruitment when not enough jobs are actually secured by agencies, resulting in a long waiting period for workers” and insufficient information about workers’ rights, she said.
“Employment agencies might decide to not recruit migrants who are confident about demanding their rights,” she said.
MOEAF vice chair U Soe Myint Aung said controlling training would lead to better supervision of migrants. He also said that because the agency negotiates labour agreements with its foreign counterparts it was best suited to train the migrants.
But Ms Harima said protecting the migrants was a job for governments. “It’s rather unrealistic to expect agencies to play a front-line role in protecting domestic workers’ rights. It is the responsibility of governments to protect their citizens and workers, and it should be the government’s responsibility to strictly monitor the operation of recruitment agencies.”
By: Bill O’Toole, Myanmar Times
The Mekong Migration Network (MMN) hosted and organized a Regional Exchange Program on Migration Issues in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from August 5th-7th, 2014. The exchange program was funded by the international non-profit organization Diakonia to educate its partner organizations in the Mekong region about migration issues and enable them to network with other organizations focusing on those issues. At the exchange MMN and its member organizations presented on the history of recent migration in Thailand, principles and international frameworks to promote the rights of migrants, the work the network collectively carries out, and the work its individual member organizations carry out in order to empower migrant communities and advocate for policy reform to achieve fair treatment and labor conditions for migrants. As Diakonia’s partner organizations specialize in issues as diverse as women’s rights, community development, human trafficking, poverty alleviation, and safe migration, the exchange program was designed to facilitate mutual learning among MMN members and Diakonia’s partners. The program included discussions about the intersection of the issues of migration with those of labor rights, women’s rights, and development.
To deepen understanding about working and living conditions of migrants, participants visited two separate migrant worker communities, one employed in agriculture and the other in construction. Participants also visited the MAP Foundation, EMPOWER and MMN and learnt issues and strategies from the respective organizations. The exchange culminated in a final day of networking as the different organizations identified what issues they could collaborate with others on to address the needs of migrants.
The following civil society organizations participated in the exchange program and are partner organizations of the Diakonia Foundation.
- Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT)
- Community Legal Education Center (CLEC)
- Karen Baptist Convention (KBC)
- Myanmar Baptist Convention (MBC)
- New Life Center Foundation
- Northern Shan State Baptist Convention
- Shan State Lisu Christian Association of Myanmar
The following organizations are members of the Mekong Migration Network and also participated in the exchange program.
- 88 Generation Peace and Open Society
- Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
- Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC)
- Foundation for Education and Development (FED)
- Labour Rights Defenders and Promoters (LRDP)
- Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW)
- MAP Foundation
- Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)
The Exchange Program concluded with a range of recommendations for MMN and Diakonia regarding further action, which included organizing similar Exchange Programs in other Mekong countries on a regular basis.
MMN is pleased to announce that the proceedings of the Bottom of ASEAN Workshop, which was held during the ASEAN People’s Forum in Myanmar, is now available in soft copies.
PDF version of the proceedings is available at:
MMN is pleased to announce that the proceedings of the Bottom of ASEAN Project Consultation Meeting, which was organised by MMN on 19 March 2014 at MiCasa Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar, is now available in soft copies.
PDF version of the report is available at: