FAIRWAY Programme Kenya and KUDHEIHA promote migrant workers’ education

In light of the increasing number of migrant domestic workers seeking employment opportunities in the Gulf and other Arab States, the ILO FAIRWAY Programme in Kenya joined hands with the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions and Hospital Workers (KUDHEIHA) to conduct four workshops to raise awareness of intending migrant workers and returnees on the ILO General principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment.

An awareness-raising session on safe labour migration delivered by KUDHEIHA Project coordinator to participants
The awareness raising workshops were held between 29 December 2020 and 27 May 2021 and attended by 174 participants, with women making up 65 percent of the attendees. During the workshops, participants discussed safe migration; provisions of national laws that govern migration and advocacy with relevant stakeholders. The training was attended by returnees from Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Bahrain who worked previously in the domestic work sector, plumbing, security, driving and mechanical fire alarm installation.  The participating returnees shared their testimonials, which in some cases included exploitation by recruitment agencies, lack of knowledge on existing national laws that govern migration, abuse and mistreatment by employers.

“Besides working for my employer, I also worked for his mother. I faced many challenges as there was a lot of work.”, said Zuhura, a 24-year-old female migrant. “I used to sleep late at night and wake up early in the morning, I did not rest and I had no days off.  My employer kept asking me why I refused to work for her mother. She said if I did not work for her mother, she would take me to the police. I preferred to be taken to the police.”

The workshops also introduced the Recruitment Advisor  tool and the team demonstrated the use of the tool and trained the participants on how to use it. The Recruitment Advisor was developed by the ILO and the International Trade Union Confederation to collect returned migrant workers’ feedback on the recruitment agencies they contracted with, and to equip intending migrant workers with better knowledge as they navigate through the recruitment process.  

Some returnees were encouraged to document their experience and share their review of the recruitment agencies they contracted with on the Recruitment Advisor. One returnee talked about his migration story in Swahili and expressed his interest to publish it so other intending workers can learn from it.

At the conclusion of the workshops, participants called for the protection of migrant workers’ rights, and a safe, fair, and orderly labour migration in the target counties through social media and social dialogue with relevant actors.