Ugandan stakeholders adapt the ILO media toolkit on reporting on forced labour and fair recruitment for use in Uganda

Following consultations with various stakeholders and desk reviews that informed the adaptation of the media toolkit, Ugandan stakeholders, with support from ILO, convened on 14th-15th October 2021 to review and validate the adapted media toolkit on reporting on forced labour and fair recruitment. The adapted toolkit will be used to build capacity of media practitioners, for improved reportage and effective engagement issues of on forced labour and fair recruitment.

News | 15 October 2021
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is supporting to strengthen capacity of media practitioners in Uganda and enhance media engagement on issues of forced labour and fair recruitment through adaptation of its global media toolkit for use in the national context and training of relevant stakeholders.

In a validation meeting held on 14th-15th October 2021, Ugandan stakeholders reviewed and validated the adapted media toolkit on reporting on forced labour and fair recruitment in Uganda. The meeting brought together representatives from relevant Government ministries, ILO social partners, journalists, UN agencies, civil society organizations and private recruitment agencies.

The toolkit aims to improve capacity of journalists and other media practitioners, for quality reporting and effective media engagement on issues of forced labour and fair recruitment in Uganda.

“This toolkit is timely, and is very important for us to support journalists, starting from the level of editors, to effectively report on issues of forced labour and fair recruitment,” said Mr. John Baptist Imokola, the Representative from African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME).

A report produced by ACME on reporting of public affairs in Uganda between May 2020 to September 2020 highlighted that reporting on labor and employment issues was among the lowest, at 1.8%.  “It is therefore important to build the foundation from the training institutions to develop interests and support young people right from the universities and the other training institutions,” Mr. Imokola added.

Several participants acknowledged that there has indeed been a gap when it comes to engagement of media professionals on issues of labour migration, yet they are a crucial player in promoting fair recruitment and protection of rights of migrant workers.

In his opening remarks, the ILO representative Mr. Theodoor Sparreboom, Labour Migration Specialist, Decent Work Team for Eastern and Southern Africa, noted that it is essential to change negative perceptions and attitudes through evidence and fact-based journalism. “We believe that fair and balanced reportage that recognizes migrants’ contribution to economic growth and development of countries of origin, transit and destination is urgently needed.” Mr. Sparreboom said.

The Director Labour, Employment and Occupational Safety and Health- Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Mr. Martin Wandera in his remarks also noted that addressing trafficking in persons, forced labour and unfair recruitment practices calls for heightening of the consciousness of potential victims, creating awareness in the public about how trafficking manifests, its risks and how opportunities that would lead one into forced labour also manifests. He noted that the media is a critical pillar in increasing public awareness. “It is impossible to raise awareness and promote advocacy without journalists,” he said. The Director thanked ILO and partners for recognizing the important role that journalists play and for providing the opportunity to strengthen their capacity.

The adapted media toolkit for Uganda is accompanied with a media-friendly glossary on labour migration, which will be useful for journalists to understand technical and common terminologies on labour migration and including those informally used in the Ugandan context.

The adaptation of the media toolkit for use in Uganda and planned subsequent trainings of journalists and media practitioners in Uganda is part of the ILO FAIRWAY programme, funded by the Government of Switzerland- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The FAIRWAY programme is an interregional programme which aims to improve conditions of labour migration across migration pathways from Africa to Arab States, and protection of migrant workers in vulnerable situations within the Arab states’ region, thereby enabling migrant workers to contribute more fully to social and economic development in both countries of origin and destination. The project further aims to enhance capacities of stakeholders to protect the rights of all migrant workers along the labour migration cycle.