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  • Organisation

    The Independent Democratic Informal Economy Association (IDEA) was established in 2005 by a group of informal economy workers in Cambodia. IDEA is a member-based organisation with over 10,000 members ranging from TukTuk drivers, Moto-taxi drivers, street vendors, small restaurant workers, domestic workers and load carriers. All these groups together form the national association, coordinated by the Secretariat that expands its member base, supports members, and at the same time defends the rights of informal workers and raise concerns to respective stakeholders. The group is in an active social dialogue with its members and authorities (e.g. municipality, police, companies, etc.) to create awareness and to develop joint solutions to end the abuses to informal workers. IDEA is active in bringing the issues of the informal sector into the labour-broad agenda, including social security rights. It currently has five branches situated within the provinces of Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Som, and Siem Reap.

    • Organisation

      The Independent Democratic Informal Economy Association (IDEA) was established in 2005 by a group of informal economy workers in Cambodia. IDEA is a member-based organisation with over 10,000 members ranging from TukTuk drivers, Moto-taxi drivers, street vendors, small restaurant workers, domestic workers and load carriers. All these groups together form the national association, coordinated by the Secretariat that expands its member base, supports members, and at the same time defends the rights of informal workers and raise concerns to respective stakeholders. The group is in an active social dialogue with its members and authorities (e.g. municipality, police, companies, etc.) to create awareness and to develop joint solutions to end the abuses to informal workers. IDEA is active in bringing the issues of the informal sector into the labour-broad agenda, including social security rights. It currently has five branches situated within the provinces of Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Som, and Siem Reap.

    • Project

      IDEA started the Voice-funded project, Promoting Women Condition and Rights (PWCR), for Cambodian women domestic workers who are members of the association. The project aims to strengthen its existing 451 members and works with 200 new members in Phnom Penh. IDEA organises one-on-one direct meetings with new members and explains to them the advantages of membership, discuss working conditions, and identify approaches to improve their working conditions. Furthermore, IDEA responds and assists members with complaints against violation of rights including documentation of cases. It works closely with related NGOs, networks, and government institutions to ensure implementation of existing rules and regulations for domestic workers.

  • Project

    IDEA started the Voice-funded project, Promoting Women Condition and Rights (PWCR), for Cambodian women domestic workers who are members of the association. The project aims to strengthen its existing 451 members and works with 200 new members in Phnom Penh. IDEA organises one-on-one direct meetings with new members and explains to them the advantages of membership, discuss working conditions, and identify approaches to improve their working conditions. Furthermore, IDEA responds and assists members with complaints against violation of rights including documentation of cases. It works closely with related NGOs, networks, and government institutions to ensure implementation of existing rules and regulations for domestic workers.

  • Results

    “Before I could not talk to my employer about tasks that I don’t want to do but I still do for them. Now if I don’t want then I can say no to them.”  Vun Kim Srey

    Vun Kim Srey is a nanny and a member of the Cambodia Domestic Worker Network (CDWN), an IDEA member union. She credits her strength from being with and learning from fellow domestic workers she meets regularly after work. Her story is just one of many similar stories of women who work in other people’s homes: cooking food, cleaning dishes, and taking care of children. It is an isolating profession with many employees working behind closed doors and working under informal agreements.

    Through their Empowerment grant, IDEA reached more than 200 domestic workers to join and become new members. Outreach was done via one-on-one meetings through friends and acquaintances, explaining what it means to be a member and getting to know each of their situations. It required building a high degree of trust where everyone is in it together, finding solutions to improve their working conditions. Eventually, new members strengthened their capacity through various workshops and became advocates themselves. They joined marches during International Women’s Day and were invited to speak at a UN Women event.

    Aside from sharing information, IDEA also assists members who file complaints against their employers for violating their rights. Mrs Sao Phalla, also known as Phally, endured verbal abuse from her former employer. IDEA staff documented her case and intervened on her behalf since she does not speak English. They sent him a letter laying out the complaints and asked for compensation. If the employer still refused, they would have started legal proceedings.

    “IDEA will process this case following the Law of the Kingdom of Cambodia to claim justice for Mrs Phally and set an example for the sake of other domestic works. They should be treated fairly with dignity and respect like other formal workers.” Excerpt from IDEA’s letter to Mrs Phally’s employer

    They advocated for domestic worker’s rights at the national level, receiving coverage from local media. Their calls have included the inclusion of informal workers in the National Security Fund and higher minimum wages for domestic workers. IDEA has continuously shown empowerment is stronger when people are together and in solidarity with one another.

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