In the past two years, Covid-19 has presented a lot of challenges, and it was no different to the mentees of our capacity building programmes. The yearlong mentorship Programme AKSES organised by JWB’s Indonesia office was a ground-breaking milestone, bringing together 13 mentees from seven local frontline organisations to learn and experience cross-border casework while furthering our collective mission of bringing justice to all migrant workers.
Despite working remotely throughout the majority of the programme, the mentees, many of whom were completely new to casework, were able to conduct consultations, host village discussions, and pursue casework, investing a total 1of ,232 hours in the programme. With the programme’s end, the graduation ceremony was a chance to finally bring everyone involved in the same room— from the mentors to key stakeholders —celebrating in person at last the hard work and achievements in the past year.
A Celebration for All
In the ceremony, the mentees and their mentors were joined by representatives from major local government authorities and international agencies, including the Ministry of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ILO, and UN Women. Each mentee had their moment to shine as their names were called to receive their certificates from JWB’s Executive Director Douglas MacLean, who had travelled to Jakarta to mark the occasion. The group then joined together for a musical rendition of “Heal the World”, ending the celebration on a high note. It was really nice to see everyone enjoying singing with big smiles on their faces.
Uniting for Dialogue
On the day, the group also joined in focus group discussions, culminating in a roundtable. This was a space for mentees to take everything they learned over the course and bring learnings before institutional stakeholders who could potentially make bigger changes. They shared their findings and discussed solutions including, addressing vulnerabilities faced by migrant workers before departing to their working countries, the reason for their preference to seek jobs through unofficial channels and who they would seek help from and why it can be challenging for them to pursue claims when encountering exploitation.
Learning Through Helping
In a programme to gain a new set of knowledge to support other migrant workers in their own communities and beyond, the mentees learned to both help others and themselves in the process. They walked away with their eyes opened to a new world of cross-border claims for victims, with many eager to continue the work they had started and with the connections they made. Nur Khosiah, an advocate from our partner Fatayat and a graduate mentee, shared her plans for the road ahead:
“My dream is to become one of Indonesia’s advocates in cross-border litigation. Building from my foundations in Program AKSES, I believe I can continue to grow my knowledge and skills”.
Sinthia Harkrisnowo from the International Labour Organisation’s Safe and Fair Programme in Indonesia felt the enthusiasm from the participants and recognised the results achieved from this program: “We hope that all of [the mentees] can continue the work and the knowledge that already achieved, and JWB can continue to help and build services for access to justice and law.”
A Great Team Effort
Capacity building takes teamwork. In addition to our dedicated mentees and mentors, cooperation from community organisations and generous funding from the ILO, Merck and IADC Foundation were essential parts for the great success of the programme.
Getting to see everyone take the time to come together and celebrate their dedication and shared goals reflected the hope of many mentees: to build and maintain these connections, both with their newfound partners and friends, and also with mentors, other organisations, and even government agencies and larger stakeholders. Despite the end of the program, this was only the start of their journey, to “make the world a better place”.
By Chloe Hui and Alice Chuck, PR Fellows @ JWB