ILO Skills Innovation Network evolves as a place for peer learning and inspiration

News | 28 September 2021
One of the recent initiatives under the ILO Skills Innovation Network is Skills Innovation Clinic. In our first Clinic session, Frei Sangil of Layertech Software Labs Inc., one of the finalists of the 1st ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call, shared with peer Network members some of the challenges that the company was facing in their work on digital skills development. The challenges ranged from curriculum development, access to employment for learners, to digital connectivity in the remote province of the Philippines.

The participants then split into two groups and actively shared their hands-on experience to offer 'solutions' as a clinic. For example, their suggestions included making strategic partnerships with various actors with flexible modalities and creating skills programme that align with the needs of local contexts and objectives of local stakeholders.

In the following meeting after one month, we had a reflection session. Frei updated, in response to the suggestions by the clinic, that the company managed to launch a digital skills program with a local TVET provider and also reached out to the country's Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for the first time. Recently, they also launched a new business management software to help local micro entrepreneurs - mostly women who are hit hard by the pandemic. Check the video below to hear the voice of their beneficiaries.

In the latter half of the same meeting, we invited Mendy Lerato Lusaba, founder of the Domestic Workers Association of Zimbabwe (DWAZ) and winner of the 1st ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call. She explained about the vision and mission of DWAZ that were put into the winning project, which proposed to fill in the skills gap of domestic workers in the country.

"There are over 73 million domestic workers in the world and it’s one of the oldest labour forces and professions. However, nothing has been really happening in the sector for years. So we wanted to start a training centre…our idea and our innovation was very simple" said Mendy.

Through the project, DWAZ provides skills training for domestic workers. In Zimbabwe, like in many other countries in Africa, domestic workers are usually recruited from rural areas. For them, using modern gadgets and conducting the expected level of work in urban home settings is often a challenge. "Even there is appreciation of what diapers are because they do not use diapers in rural areas". In order to overcome these challenges, DWAZ has established the centre that replicates a modern-setting house, where learners can take practical skills training. So far, DWAZ has developed training curriculum, which is now in the process to be accredited by national ministries of Zimbabwe. They hope that the curriculum will be introduced by TVET providers in all 10 provinces of the country and even those in neighbouring countries and beyond.

Mendy and the DWAZ team are also busy engaging with a wide range of stakeholders across the world. They got connected with like-minded people in Kenya who are interested in launching a similar project for domestic workers. DWAZ also forged a partnership with Funzi, an e-learning technology provider in Finland, to allow the delivery of some training contents on mobile phones. Mendy and the team have also proactively learned from the experience of skills development authorities in the Philippines. "We can go further with partnerships and networking. It does not matter whether you are in Zimbabwe or in other countries. We can all work together one way or the other…people now believe that it is high time to formalize domestic work."