METRO MANILA, Philippines - After launching an online discussion about the features of the Republic Act 11641 or the Department of Migrant Workers last 8 March, 2022 (International Women's Day), Safe and Fair Programme wraps up the Women's Month Celebration in the Philippines by launching another online discussion, this time in partnership with Edukasyon. ph.

The online campaign titled, “Ang Mama Kong BiyaHero” is a nationwide youth-engagement campaign that aims to educate the youth to help prevent violence against women, and advocate for their welfare and empowerment here and abroad. This is in full support of and complementarity to the joint International Labor Organization-UN Women Safe and Fair's “Babaeng Biya(Hero)” campaign.

Through the use of Edukasyon.ph’s digital platforms, the campaign hopes to equip the youth, especially the children of migrant workers, with proper information on safe and fair migration, and on available essential services and referral pathways for female overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The campaign spreads this info through different media such as blog posts that inform young Filipinos how they can help female OFWs access protection mechanisms: from keeping in touch with women migrant relatives, being aware of relevant government agencies’ hotline numbers, to reporting cases of violence against women or gender-based violence through proper channels.

Meanwhile, through its Babaeng Biya(Hero) website and social media channels, the Safe and Fair Programme has curated relevant information materials for migrant workers. These include the 16 Essentials to Ensure Coordinated Quality Response to Violence against Women Migrant Workers, Comprehensive Directory for VAW Service Providers in the Philippines and Countries of Destination, as well as infographics on how to access social welfare and livelihood packages from both government and non-government agencies— all in downloadable form for easier use and saving.

The campaign also included a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 youth participants that sought their insights, attitudes, and motivations towards migration for work. The survey revealed the need to engage the youth early in learning about the realities of migration, and the challenges facing our women OFWs. Of 1,020 respondents, 79 percent claimed they want to work abroad so they can support their family. Surprisingly however, 68 percent of them said that if they weren't concerned about their financial situation, they would choose to stay in the Philippines instead. Around 58 percent of the respondents do not feel that they will always be safe working abroad as an OFW. 30 percent of them said that they know of an OFW friend or relative who has experienced violence against women (VAW). The experiences included economic (28%), sexual (12%), emotional/mental (34%), and physical (26%) types of violence. 24 percent of the respondents stated that their OFW friend or relative was not able to seek help from the VAW they experienced. (Read the full survey results here.)

"Women may still not feel safe reporting the abuse they experienced; or there remains a prevailing silence around VAW and gender-based violence." - Charisse Jordan, National Project Officer for the Safe and Fair Programme, UN Women

“We welcome the survey findings affirming the youth’s level of awareness of services and willingness to share important information to women migrant workers. The lack of youth’s knowledge on VAW is quite telling - women may still not feel safe reporting the abuse they experienced; or there remains a prevailing silence around VAW and gender-based violence. What is further striking is when the youth themselves feel that they will not always be safe working abroad as an OFW - and this is why the Safe and Fair in the Philippines and Babaeng BiyaHero campaign call for every member of the society, especially the youth, including men and boys - to be part of the support system for women OFWs“, shared Charisse Jordan, National Project Officer for the Safe and Fair Programme, UN Women.

Rex Varona, National Programme Coordinator of the Safe and Fair Programme for the Philippines shared, “8 of every 10 youth surveyed want to work abroad to support their families. This is a high proportion and reflects their view that the Philippine economy could not provide them decent work in the country. A 60% majority is also willing to risk working abroad even if they know the risks to violence and abuse. Therefore, we need to reasses our migration policies not just to strengthen protection of rights and safety of OFWs especially women, but also to provide decent jobs and reintegration options in the country.”

"We need to reasses our migration policies not just to strengthen protection of rights and safety of OFWs especially women, but also to provide decent jobs and reintegration options in the country." - Rex Varona, National Programme Coordinator of the Safe and Fair Programme for the Philippines, ILO

“As a large online youth platform, it is Edukasyon’s responsibility to ensure that the youth have access to these types of information and resources that not only help them make positive choices in their future, but help them with the issues that they face today” said Grace David, CEO of Edukasyon.ph. “Edukasyon is proud to be a part of a collaborative effort like this.” 

The campaign culminates in a livestreamed event on March 30, 2022 featuring youth advocates, representatives of Babaeng BiyaHero, and an OFW family to share further insights on issues facing Filipina migrant workers and how the youth can help. The event is hosted by Jasmine Curtis-Smith.

About Edukasyon.ph
Launched in 2015, Edukasyon.ph is the largest education technology platform in the Philippines empowering millions of Filipino students to make better education decisions that lead to a fulfilling career and life.

About Safe and Fair Programme
Safe and Fair Programme is part of Spotlight Initiative is aglobalinitiative of the United Nations (UN) which has received generous support from the European Union (EU). Safe and Fair is jointly implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN Women in collaboration with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The programme's overall goal is to ensure that labor migration is safe and fair for all women in the ASEAN region.

Know more about Safe and Fair Programme initiatives here:
www.babaengbiyahero.info
https://www.facebook.com/BabaengBiyahero