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.