Domestic Workers

Decent Work for Domestic Workers

ILO calls for continued action to protect migrant domestic workers in Lebanon as its EU-Swiss development agency funded project comes to a close.

Press release | 31 October 2014
Beirut (ILO News) - The ILO’s PROWD project has closed with a call to continue advocating for migrant domestic worker rights, including the right to organise and to secure access to justice and decent work in Lebanon.

The ILO’s flagship migrant domestic workers’ project in Lebanon has closed with an event calling for continued advocacy for migrant domestic workers’ (MDW’s) rights in view of lessons learned from three years of operations. The Action Programme for Protecting Women Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon (PROWD) closing event was attended by PROWD national partners from civil society and the media including Lebanese government representatives from the ministries of labour and social affairs, the National Federation of Employees and Workers in Lebanon (FENASOL), the Syndicate of Recruitment Agencies in Lebanon, diplomats from migrant domestic workers’ (MDWs) countries of origin as well as representatives from the European Commission Delegation to Lebanon.

“This initiative embodies the ILO’s commitment to dignity and rights for all workers,” said Nada Al-Nashif, ILO Regional Director for the Arab States, at the event. “While there is still much to do to tackle societal prejudice and build the foundations of decent work for domestic workers in Lebanon, the PROWD project and its partners have established the bedrock for next steps – and a new reality, soon.”

Jointly funded by the European Union and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the project launched operations in June 2011 and has since spearheaded a range of initiatives to
secure favourable working and living conditions for MDWs while advocating for a regulatory framework that protect their rights. During this period, PROWD helped found the Domestic Workers Committee at FENASOL, the first collective migrant domestic workers’ organization in Lebanon and the Middle East, and presided over the endorsement of the first Code of Conduct by the Syndicate of Recruitment Agencies in Lebanon.

Among the partner initiatives PROWD supported at non-governmental organizations were the development of a teacher’s kit by the Amel Association to sensitize Lebanese youth on domestic work issues, upgrades to a hotline designed to receive and record MDWs’ complaints at the Ministry of Labour by the Caritas Migrant Centre, and research into MDW’s ability to access the legal system in Lebanon by Legal Agenda.

“In order to address the complexities surrounding migrant domestic workers’ issues in Lebanon we had to work on several fronts at once,” said Zeina Mezher, PROWD’s National Project Coordinator. “The only way we were able to do this was by building strong and sustainable partnerships with various actors who can now continue the work we started together.”
The heads of various media outlets attending the closing event were also presented the Syndicate of Recruitment Agencies in Lebanon’s Code of Conduct so that their institutions may promote its future implementation.

“The European Union has supported many civil society-led actions to enhance both the protection of women and migrant workers, and to prevent violations of their rights,” said Marcello Mori, Head of the Sustainable Development Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon. “We are determined to continue and support this work through the financing of programmes under the European Union's instruments designed to help civil society become an effective force for political reform and the defence of human rights.”

For media queries, contact:
Salwa Kanaana, Regional Communication and Public Information Officer, ILO Regional Office for Arab States, Tel: +961 1 752 400 (Ext 117), Mobile: +961 71 505958, email: