Grand Opening: Zimbabwe’s Domestic Workers Training Centre

Mendy Lerato Lusaba, founder of the Domestic Workers Association of Zimbabwe and winner of the 2020 ILO Skills Innovation Challenge, realizes her dream of opening a training centre.

News | 30 June 2021
Contact(s): ILO Harare Office Tel +2634369806-12 Email:
On 2 May 2021, the much-awaited Domestic Workers Training Centre was officially launched and opened to the public, partners, domestic workers themselves and employers.

Guests were taken on a tour of the Centre to showcase what is available and how the space will be used. A mini graduation ceremony for students who had completed the housekeeping training course in April 2021 was also held – with the true celebratory atmosphere of such an occasion.

Marking an achievement

Now that this Centre is officially open, the vision is to open more such Centres and expand. This first one located in Harare, will serve locally based domestic workers. For the Innovation Challenge winner and founder, Mendy Lusaba, it would be the realisation of her dream to see other centres sprouting in other towns and provinces around Zimbabwe. Her bigger vision is to replicate the same concept in other countries in the region and beyond.

In February 2021, Mendy and her team rented a house and piloted the idea of how the Centre activities would be rolled-out. The bigger picture was to set-up a facility resembling an actual house with all the amenities, so that the trainees would relate and benefit from the experience of practical work and exposure in a standard house.

This house has now become the Training Centre and it will have a huge impact on domestic workers, both aspiring, and those already working.

Previously, domestic workers were considered informal, uneducated, and untrained. The Centre is here now to transform that narrative.

The Centre will have a set of accredited training packages developed in close collaboration with experts from industry, workers and employers in the sector, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development and the responsible bodies for verification and accreditation, namely the National Manpower Advisory Council (NAMACO) and the Higher Education Examinations Council (HEXCO). This will enable the domestic workers to be trained, certified and get better jobs, while increasing their access to new learning pathways and career development prospects. Not only will it change their personal lives, but also their academic and family lives.

Skills to shape domestic work

In March, a workshop to develop the curriculum for the Domestic Workers Training Centre, was held with support from the relevant department of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development in Zimbabwe. The curriculum currently covers four qualifications: housekeeping, caregiving, cookery and baking, and gardening.

Our curriculum development consultant, Lewis Durango, shared that the curriculum will greatly contribute to adult reskilling in Zimbabwe.
“The fact that domestic work is currently a dead-end job will soon change”, asserted Lewis.

Domestic work is a primarily female sector with the majority of workers being women. It falls in the category of ‘unskilled work’, but through this training programme created with technical support of the ILO, domestic work will soon be considered as skilled work. The training will promote decent work for domestic workers and remove the stigmatization of women.

This will facilitate further progression in domestic workers’ careers in the hospitality or tourism sector. The current qualifications are being developed at Level Two of the Zimbabwean National Qualifications Framework. Any domestic worker who wants to progress after the training can continue on to Levels Three and Four to work in hotels and restaurants, among others.

Idah Kaukau, a domestic worker in Harare who attended the workshop, expressed that the Training Centre will help her improve her skills to reach better jobs and working conditions. It will also motivate other domestic workers to complete the training. This will help increase the standards of domestic workers in Zimbabwe.

Once completed, the objective is to have the same curriculum available to vocational training centres throughout the country. It is envisaged that the curriculum will be shared with other countries that need trained domestic workers.