Political Party Activist Advocates for Migrant Workers’ in Nusa Tenggara Timur

“Following my participation in the International Republican Institute’s [IRI] advocacy and leadership training seminars I have been more effective in advocating for the rights of migrant workers and their family members,” said Maria Hingi, a representative of the National Awakening Party in Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia.

A large number of Indonesia’s migrant workers originate from Hingi’s home province of Nusa Tenggara Timur, which is consistently among the poorest provinces in Indonesia with many economic and human indicators significantly below the national average. To assist these workers, Hingi, a political party activist and formerly a migrant worker herself, launched a campaign to advocate for the rights of migrant workers focusing on educating workers and their families on basic legal protections and fundamental human rights. Hingi believes that by knowing their rights, the workers self-reliance will be strengthened. She has primarily focused her efforts on issues concerning women migrant workers as the majority of Indonesian migrant workers are women from rural regions with lower levels of education who are often the most vulnerable to abuse and unaware of their rights.

Through workshops and seminars, Hingi has raised public awareness about the need for better protections for migrant workers and their family members. At her workshops, political party members have improved their advocacy efforts on the issue through technical skills training on topics such as: communications, networking and outreach. The latest seminar, entitled, The Lack of Protection by the State for Migrant Workers, gathered migrant workers, their family members, political parties, civil society organizations, business people, labor unions and the media to discuss and strengthen recommendations on ways to protect and improve migrant workers’ rights.

Hingi plans to continue her efforts conducting local town hall meetings, legislative outreach initiatives and by continuing to organize training seminars for her fellow political party members. In choosing to address the issues that migrant workers face in Indonesia, Hingi not only hopes to help this community but wishes to set a new trend in how Indonesian political parties view and proactively take on issues that are of concern to voters. By doing so, she also serves as an example of a committed women leader in Indonesian politics.

IRI has been working with the people of Indonesia to advance their country’s democratic development since 1998 and has conducted leadership and advocacy training programs for women and youth in Nusa Tenggara Timur since September 2011. IRI’s programming develops the leadership and advocacy skills of women and youth who are emerging leaders within existing political party wings, as a means of encouraging their more effective engagement in the political process.

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