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Women@Work Campaign

Achieving good working conditions for women in the horticulture supply chains

Decent work for women

The Women@Work Campaign aims to improve the labor conditions of women who work in the global supply chains of flowers and vegetables that are grown in East and Southern Africa for the export market. Hivos and partners catalyze change by collaborating with civil society, governments and businesses in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as in the Netherlands.
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Upholding women’s labor rights

Many women who work in the African horticulture do not make a living wage. They work in unhealthy and unsafe workplaces, are denied basic rights such as maternity leave, and face sexual harassment. The Women@Work Campaign aims to change this. Upholding the rights of women workers – as embedded in various human rights conventions – improves the position of women, benefits the companies involved and has a positive impact on the economy of a country.

“The gender committees are easily accessible and this has helped in building women’s confidence at the workplace.”

Evelyne Kagia, Project Officer for the Women@Work Campaign at Haki Mashinani

“Among the things that the twinning program has achieved is helping schools get clean piped water, provide schools with firewood and training the children on their reproductive health, sexual harassment, HIV and AIDS.”

Mark Rabudi, Team Leader at the National Organization of Peer Educators about the Blooming Schools and Workplaces project

“Work is not only a source of income, but also a source of personal dignity, family stability, peace in the community, and economic growth that expands opportunities for productive jobs and employment.”

Odette Dushime Ntambara, Communication & Advocacy Officer for Rwanda Women’s Network

“I appreciate the savings group a lot because I am now able to save and support myself in ways I was unable to do before. I am more outspoken and not afraid to speak and encourage others in the community.”

lphonsine Murebwayire, worker at a Rwandan flower farm

“We are seeing women in the flower farms coming together to build solidarity. Most of these women have formed groups at the farm level to sensitize their colleagues on labor rights, feminist theory and the savings culture. These women meet on a weekly basis to share knowledge and experiences and create a bond that in turn helps them to respond to labor issues affecting them.”

Leah Eryenyu, Advocacy and Movement Building Manager at Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA)

“Most of the workers are illiterate and have no idea that there are laws in place to protect them. It is through training that supervisors know that they are not above the law. Before training, we had supervisors who would verbally abuse workers.”

Beredu Site, lead of the women’s committee at an Ethiopian flower farm

“In the flower industry, sexual harassment has for the longest time been generally accepted as okay by colleagues, workers and even management. They took it as something normal. The women accepted it – as a sign of love as long as there was no violence. We are glad this is now changing as the Federation has been holding sensitization training to both flower workers and their employers as to what encompasses sexual harassment.”

Gebeyehu Adugna, President of the Ethiopian National Federation of Farm, Plantation, Fishery and Agro Industry Trade Unions (NFFPFATU)

“It were only men who spoke or participated in collective bargaining agreements, but not anymore.”

Flora Mpukwini, head of the gender committee at a flower farm in Arusha, Tanzania, about the result of the negotiation training she has received from Tanzania Plantation and Agriculture Workers Union (TPAWU)