Child Domestic Workers campaign
Children and youths employed as domestic workers is a widely spread phenomenon in Africa, due to poverty and demographic pressure in rural areas where parents have difficulty raising and feeding numerous children. When sent away, most of these children end up in towns, where they are exploited and exposed to slavery-like conditions, and to multiple forms of psychological, physical or sexual violence. Few manage to complete basic education; most child domestic workers are illiterate and unaware of their basic rights. In addition, most African countries do not recognize domestic work as a full-fledged profession, which allows opportunities for further abuses and exploitation.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) considers domestic work to be one of the worst forms of child labor, yet child domestic workers remain invisible and overlooked by government programs and interventions.
While exact numbers of child domestic workers in Africa are unknown, roughly 6 million people in Eastern Africa alone could be working as domestic workers.
IDAY believes that governments have the primary responsibility for the respect of basic human rights, in that they bear the responsibility to bring about and protect the rights of every individual, especially the most vulnerable individuals, including child domestic workers. That is why IDAY focuses on evidence-based advocacy and sensitization to ensure the protection of children from violence in domestic work in a sustainable, large scale way.
Through advocacy and sensitization campaigns, IDAY ensures that domestic workers are treated with the respect they deserve, are protected by law, and have access to education courses through vocational literacy training programs. These training programs give young domestic workers skills and literacy needed to help them feel proud of their profession and regain their self-confidence, dignity and respect of their employers.
To know more about the regional project “Stopping violence against child and youth domestic workers in East Africa and the DRC”: Domestic workers project or discover our website for the campaign: Invisible workers.
WHAT ARE WE ADVOCATING FOR THROUGH THE REGIONAL CAMPAIGN?
1) Legal protection and recognition of domestic workers of legal working age:
– ratification of the ILO Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers by all 5 countries.
– recognition of domestic work as a full-fledged profession
– employed under proper contracts guaranteeing decent working conditions (salary, days off & holidays, social security rights).
2) Protection of child domestic workers:
improve existing regulations, policies and referral mechanisms so that they explicitly define and target child domestic work as a form of child labour to be eliminated, and provide for the reintegration of child domestic workers under the minimum legal working age into a protective family environment and school.
3) Help achieve access to quality education and vocational training for all children and youth in the sub-region:
– domestic work activities for children under the minimum legal working age can’t be at the expense of their education.
– importance of training for domestic workers to get adequate and recognised qualifications, which will lead to both better social recognition and contractual conditions.
– domestic workers currently working can be trained while working, through programmes adapted to their needs and availability. In-job training also improves employment conditions.
IN THE DRC
In the DRC, domestic work is known to be the source of widespread abuses and social violence against hundreds of thousands children and youngsters. These youngsters face an uncertain future. Many of them are at risk of delinquency, enrolment in armed forces, or child trafficking.
IDAY-DRC and its partner CATSR (Comité d’Appui au Travail Social de Rue) and WCP (Women and Children Protection), with the Youth Secretary (Ministry of Youth), completed a national survey on domestic work. The final report is available here: IDAY-Domestic workers Survey Report – DRC as well as the analysis of the political and legal framework: IDAY-Evaluation du cadre légal RDC
They are implementing various activities to raise awareness among the Congolese population and their authorities.
PHOTO-REPORTAGE ON DOMESTIC WORKERS IN KINSHASA
As part of IDAY’s regional campaign on domestic work, Belgian photographer Rosalie Colfs shot a photo-reportage featuring a series of portraits of children and young domestic workers living in Kinshasa. Hidden behind the walls, domestic workers work relentlessly, waking up at dawn to prepare breakfast and going to bed after everyone else, when the dishes are done and the kitchen is in order. Cleaning, ironing, washing, preparing meals, getting children to school …working 12 hours a day is common and holidays are often not allowed. In some cases, their work is associated with a form of modern slavery. These domestic workers share with us pieces of their life, often chaotic, but also their hopes and dreams for a better life.
Rosalie Colfs has been living in Africa for many years. Sensitive to the eyes and words that remain silent, Rosalie offers us to discover the faces of domestic workers through these powerful portraits.
– A press article on the specific issue of domestic workers was published in MediaCongo, in April 2014. This article enhanced the work of domestic workers and gave them visibility: http://www.digitalcongo.net/article/107071
– Training of IDAY-DRC members in advocacy:
– Sketches on the rights of domestic workers have been played in Goma by the local theater group Yassa Yassa.
A play by professional actors of the INA (National Institute of Arts) in Kinshasa has been produced on DVD. This play is a tool to raise awareness among the Congolese population on child domestic work.
In Kenya, the legislation and policy provisions related to child protection and, specifically, to protection against hazardous work and the worst forms of child labour are highly developed. The main International Conventions on this regard have been domesticated and many of their objectives have been achieved. There are, however, a few important gaps in the legislation and policy development, which IDAY and its partners have identified that need to be addressed to guarantee effectual enforcement of the existent laws and policies: Legal and policy assessment – DW- Kenya
IDAY-Kenya and its partners Partners in Literacy Ministry (PALM) and Comitato Europeo per la Formazione e l’Agricoltura (CEFA) are advocating through various means:
Check the full survey report on domestic workers: Kenya report final-2015
Or discover the short version of the report: Kenya report final – 2015 – popular version
CLADHO and IDAY-International are partnering with the National Commission for Children (NCC) and the Centrale des Syndicats de Travailleurs du Rwanda (CESTRAR) to carry out research, advocacy and sensitisation activities on this issue in this country. Their political and legal framework desk review of domestic work in Rwanda is now available: DW Legal Polit framework Rwanda Final
The domestic workers’ baseline survey focusing on child domestic workers and emplyers in Rwanda is available here: Domestic workers’ Baseline Survey (07-2015)
CESTRAR successfully lobbied for domestic work to be specifically included in a list of professions subject to minimum wage established by the the Rwanda National Labour Council. This list has been submitted it to the Ministry of Public Service and Labour for approval and publication. This is a first and important step for the recognition of domestic work as a full-fledged profession. At this stage, the text has not yet been approved by the Ministry. http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2015-01-27/185351/
In Uganda, the project is implemented by IDAY-Uganda, Uganda Children Centre (UCC), African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN)-Uganda and the National Council for Children (NCC).
– A documentary was broadcasted on national TV to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the UN Convention on Child Rights: IDAY-25th anniversary of UN Convention on Child Rights
– The national survey report on domestic work is available here: IDAY-Final survey report – Uganda
– A report on the legal and policy assessment on child domestic workers in Uganda is also available. The objective of the assessment was to outline gaps in the laws and policies of Uganda in terms of recognizing the rights of domestic workers and protecting them against abuse, particularly the children involved in domestic work.
– A video documentary on child domestic work: Save the child domestic workers
In Burundi, the partners, IDAY-Burundi and Terre des Hommes, with the Ministry of Labor, implemented a survey on domestic workers. As per the survey results, 30% of domestic workers in Burundi are under 18 years old!
The analysis of the political and legal framework also allowed to identify gaps in the national legislation.
Based on those results, the partners have launched an awareness and advocacy campaign to fight against violence towards child and youth domestic workers.