Initiative’s name: Domestic Worker Center
Organization: Domestic Workers Association of Zimbabwe (DWAZ)
The problem:Domestic work is one of the oldest and most important occupations in many countries. There are an estimated 63 million domestic workers worldwide with over 80% being women. Still considered as an informal sector, there was a complete and detrimental lack of a systematic and dedicated attention towards representation, training and skills development, capacity building and professionalism and this state of affairs has not been kind on the existence and livelihoods of domestic workers. Poverty, exploitation and abuse, poor wages and salaries, difficulties securing employment and high incidences of job loss due to lack of training and consequently poor performance, insufficient and inappropriate legal coverage, long working hours, are only a tip of the iceberg in the discussion of challenges facing this sector.
With the objective of producing and providing professional domestic workers who not only get the job, but get the job done, the Domestic Worker Center is an innovative idea, the first of its kind conceived with a unique focus on domestic workers and the domestic work profession. To stamp their footprint in the arena of formalization and professionalism, their solution runs on what we are calling tripartite parallel phases (TRIPP) approach, which means having 3 independent but interlinked sections of the project running.
- Physical approach: The Domestic Workers Center
- Vocational approach: Vocational Training Centers
- Online Approach:
Combined, these approaches will identically zero in on personal and professional development of domestic workers such that they will be able to break through the glass wall and become marketable across the board, being able to meet the requirements and expectations of different classes of employers. This development will significantly contribute the ultimate agenda of formalization of the domestic work sector, widening the base of employment opportunities and also directly and positively influence remuneration as domestic workers can leverage their training and experience for better wage and/or salary packages.
In addition, the Center is also going to be a safe haven for domestic workers who may find themselves in desperate situations and circumstances where they have no one to turn to for assistance. Domestic workers are vulnerable and they may fall victim to different forms of abuse, exploitation and mistreatment, thus necessitating the establishment of a safe place where they can be accommodated and assisted accordingly.
Now a dawning reality, made possible by the ILO Skills Challenge innovation grant. The DWC is the perfect breakthrough for all domestic workers nationwide and worldwide to be recognized, respected and appreciated for their roles in their families and society."
Mendy Lerato Lusaba, Founder of the Domestic Workers Association of Zimbabwe