DWN trains women domestic workers on human rights protection, reporting and redress
DWN collaborated with the Kituo Cha Sheria Mombasa branch and through the support of Oxfam Kenya, to mobilize 160 women domestic workers volunteer champions and multi stakeholders for training on human rights protection, reporting, and redress and ensure decent, safe spaces for women domestic workers as well as start grassroots/community-led networks/chapters in Mombasa County. The organization launched a network of women domestic volunteer champions who are working with multi-stakeholders such as administration, County government, workers union KUDHEIHA, faith based organizations, CSO’s to report cases of rights abuse in Mombasa county.
The major outcome included Increased knowledge on human rights protection and labour rights, reporting and redress among the women domestic workers volunteer champions and stakeholders.
• Multi stakeholders training progressed towards identification and ensuring decent and safe spaces for women domestic workers.
• Continuous awareness creation and sensitization on rights of women domestic workers.
• Fast-tracking cases of women domestic worker’s rights violations and GBV cases in the communities and building synergy and strong network to support quality and need-based services to women domestic workers.
• Established a strong network of champions to promote and protect the rights of domestic women workers.
The County Commissioner’s office(administration), C SO’s and KUDHEIHA have committed to support the rights of women domestic workers and undertake the fast-tracking of issues relating to women and girls’ domestic workers which has high rates of abuse in Mombasa county..
This being a pilot project, three (3) safe places for GBV’S cases were identified which are operational within Mombasa County where Women/girls can be referred to and be assisted. Formation of five (5) community’s networks by volunteer champions within Mombasa county in areas of Kisauni, Kongowea, Nyali, Mishoromoni and Tudor) and working/referring women and girls’ domestic workers to multi-stakeholders for professional assistance and support.
This being a pilot project carried out by DWN in Mombasa, eighteen cases were referred by community women volunteer champions to multi-stakeholders for professional assistance and support after the training. Women/girls domestic workers and communities are now able to access justice by logging in to DWN Unstructured Supplementary service data (USSD Code) reporting system without walking long distances, as well as contacting the multi-stakeholders for support.
Women/girls domestic workers are empowered and able to claim their rights as well as aware of employment laws that govern the domestic work duties and responsibilities. Multi stakeholder’s open-door policy to women/girls domestic workers, recognizing the need to uphold the rule of law, recognize women/girls domestic workers in there are and able to offer support as well as refer them to other stakeholders where necessary.
CASE STUDIES/ MOST SIGNIFICANT STORIES
Jane (not her real name) was terminated from her workplace during the Covid 19 pandemic after serving for six years and without service. She was told that the money she could have been given was used to pay for the things she broke in the house as well as the food she was eating in the employer’s house. She sought the help of the volunteer advocates who will issue a demand letter on her behalf to her former employer.
Roselyne, a migrant domestic worker from Uganda who was working as a permanent domestic worker was abused sexually by her employer and her male visitors at odd hours in the night. The abuse continued for a long time. Roselyne’s employer retained her travel documents and denied her permission to go outside during her stay. She managed to escape when she was told to take the trash outside as part of her daily routine. She went to the police to report only to be turned away that she is part of foreigners taking away Kenyan jobs. She has never gotten justice since she had no one to turn to and she did not have the contacts of the person who brought her to the country. Due to these frustrations, she ended up being married against her wish to get somewhere to stay. Roselyne has been receiving psychosocial support and counselling with DWN volunteer counsellors. She would like to go back home and see her family or acquire Kenyan residency papers to enable her live and earn a decent living.
Ali was working as a cook in his employer’s house. The family would leave for holidays and leave him in charge of the house. One day his child was sent home for school fees and since he had not been paid, he decided to stay with the child until the boss returned from their journey. When the boss came, the child went to open the gate, and this didn’t go well with the employer. The man came out and told him that his compound is not a beggar’s den and that he should take him away from his compound. He pleaded with him to give him his two months’ salary so that he could pay fees, but he could hear none of it. His belonging was thrown out and the house closed, and he ended up walking long kilometres home with no help. He never reported and he ended up doing manual jobs that help him to cater for his family. Due to what he went through, he became a domestic workers champion and helping those that are suffering in line with their duty.
Lilian a casual domestic worker has been working for her employer for three and a half years. She fell sick and due to Covid 19 victimization, she was fired for not reporting to work and that she was going to bring Corona to the family. She was not paid and ended up having challenges feeding her family as she was the breadwinner winner. The advocate and counsellor follow up with her for counselling and legal representation on terminating and terminating her without giving her notice.
Mohamed has been working as a gardener in his employer’s house. One day the employer demanded that he agrees to her terms or else he will lose his job and that she would tell the husband that he tried to rape her. Mohamed would hear none of it and decided to terminate his employment. As a result, he was not paid for his salary and service for nine years. He never reported as he would have suffered more and that he didn’t have the money to follow up on the cases.
Jamila a domestic worker was relieved of her duties when she fell sick and upon returning, she was told that her job was taken over and that the employer was too send her dues. Later when she went back, she found the employer had moved too an unknown place. The volunteer advocate is currently following up on the matter.
Asha (not her real name) was sexually abused by the employer’s husband, and she kept it to herself since she feared that no one would believe her. She never went too the hospital, and she only shared with a friend. She felt that had the training been done earlier, she could have been sufficiently empowered to report the matter and sought help since she did not know there were organizations and government agencies that assist domestic workers like her.