IOM supports community-based cooperative SBMI Mart to contribute to migrant workers economic empowerment
Wonosobo, 3 November 2022 – The Director General of Manpower Placement and Expansion of Job Opportunities (Dirjen Binapenta & PKK) from Ministry of Manpower officially opened a Community Cooperative Unit, SBMI Mart, in Wonosobo on Thursday, 3 November 2022. The grand opening ceremony took place at Hotel Kresna Wonosobo in conjunction with the handover of economic assistance to 100 migrant workers in Wonosobo supported under PIJAR Indonesia programme, an initiative pioneered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the Indonesian Labour Migrants Union (SBMI) and Semut Nusantara that focuses on the economic empowerment of migrant workers and their households.
“We hope this initiative can improve the well-being of migrant workers and their families, as well as give the motivation to do businesses to contribute to the expansion of job opportunities for the communities,” said Suhartono, the Director General at the Ministry of Manpower.
Part of the efforts is by strengthening economic reintegration for returnee migrant workers through productive entrepreneurship and community-based cooperative in a form of a mini retail mart, called SBMI Mart. The Mart is established by and for migrant workers, and to provide alternative livelihoods and capacity development opportunities to migrant worker households. Besides in Wonosobo, SBMI Mart will also be opened in other target areas of PIJAR Indonesia, these include Karawang in West Java, Lombok Timur in West Nusa Tenggara, and Flores Timur in East Nusa Tenggara.
Represented by Sebastien Lucian Frederic Reclaru as the Project Manager on behalf of the Chief of Mission, IOM hopes that this initiative could become a sustainable model for migrant workers economic reintegration and empowerment effort, especially during the economic turbulence resulted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We hope the community-based cooperative unit of SBMI Mart could serve as a resilient medium for migrant worker households to support their economies, increase their capacities in organizing and mobilizing, and to provide the required peer-to-peer support.”
The same message was also emphasized by Hariyanto Suwarno as the Chief of SBMI, “SBMI Mart is a community-based economic endeavour that drives local products initiatives and innovation so it could have more competitive qualities at the local, national, and regional level. We would also like to thank IOM Indonesia with the support from KOICA, which enables the empowerment of migrant worker returnees in Wonosobo who are impacted by the COVID-19.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of migrants returned to their home nations. Indonesia, one of the biggest migrant-sending nations, was not free from this circumstance as annually there were around 200-300 thousand migrant workers placed overseas pre-pandemic. At the same time, placements to countries of destinations have drastically dropped from the pre-pandemic period due to border closures and mobility restrictions, leaving aspiring migrants and the communities with fewer opportunities to livelihoods. Deputy Country Director of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Jeung Wook Lee, who also attended the grand opening explained how the initiative is in line with KOICA’s overall priorities and programming during the COVID-19 pandemic, “I believe that our strong partnerships and collaborations on this programme will be a catalyst for strengthening the community's economy resilience towards the end of the pandemic and the recession threats, so the targeted migrant workers household can be empowered properly.”
PIJAR Indonesia is part of IOM’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme, "Empowering Migrant Worker Households and Strengthening Capacities at Points of Entry in Indonesia," or PMPMI Programme, funded by KOICA. The support aims to help vulnerable communities of Indonesian migrant workers and to assist them in mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that caused the loss of their livelihoods.
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