Empowering Female and Youth Domestic Workers in Uganda
The project aims to promote the recognition of domestic work as decent work and domestic workers (WDs) contribution to society. 3500 domestic workers reached will be positioned to take individual and collective actions to improve working conditions. Two Associations of existing 61 mutual support groups of the domestic workers will be established to build solidarity and support for each other, develop advocacy strategies and represent themselves with support from PLA in influencing change. This project will also further the participation of female and youth DWs in claiming their rights, accessing services including legal aid and inclusion in decision making in policy, local and national government processes.
Lessons from Project
The project has done an excellent job of combining support to improve the situation of individual domestic workers by empowering them with knowledge and offering legal support, with a wider initiative to change the legal environment in which they operate.
Outlining the wider contribution domestic workers play in Uganda’s economy has been key in shifting attitudes more generally.
In designing a project that addresses knowledge gaps, builds and strengthens locally owned association structures and looks to improve the legal environment, PLA created outcomes that support each other, and the overall objective of the project.
Door to door engagements may be the most time consuming and expensive way of doing engagement, but for this face-to-face interaction is the most effective outreach approach.
Employers are more likely to introduce contracts and treat Domestic Worker staff better when they feel they are part of the discussions, not when they feel the decision is being forced on them. Getting Domestic Workers and employers on the same page, though not always easy, is key.
Domestic work is not as female dominated as one might think. But female and male domestic workers often have different experiences, with the former more likely to be underpaid and sexual exploited.
Building allies in parliament and providing technical inputs whilst allowing them to drive the reform process, is a strategy that has worked well.
Adaptive project management and implementation allowed for adjustments to be made that enhanced the overall goal of the project.
Training individual duty-bearers can impact on their own attitudes but rarely has a wider or organizational impact.
Accessing Domestic Workers who are live-in, rather than live-out requires a different approach, given the difficulties in undertaking door-to-door engagement. There are still many domestic workers isolated and unaware of their rights.