ZANZIBAR: THE Conservation, Hotels Domestic and Allied Workers Union (CHODAWU)- Zanzibar has embarked on safe migration training to domestic job seekers in Arab States, to ensure they are aware of their rights and how to defend themselves.
This is in response to the repeated complaints by domestic workers from East African countries including Tanzania who are working in Arab countries that they are being mistreated by some of their employers.
The problem is partly linked to ignorance of regulations among employees, prompting CHODAWU to organise training programmes for women and young people planning to travel to seek jobs in the Middle East. The objective is to help them understand safe migration.
Training about safe migration, which means that the migrants (foreign employees) are protected from any risks related to their health, legal status or life during their stay in their duty stations, was conducted in Unguja Urban District.
CHODAWU-Zanzibar Programmme Coordinator Ms Fransesca Clement said that they have been organising training for workers going to the countries of Oman, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Qatar to provide them with basic knowledge they need to cope with the various challenges they may face, including immigration procedures and violation of their rights.
“During the training, employees or people interested in traveling to the Middle East for job, were given education about their jobs as well as their rights because rights and duties are interrelated,” she said, adding that awareness about security was given to them.
She also explained that CHODAWU in collaboration with the People Bank of Zanzibar (PBZ) also educated the job seekers on how to handle their or having financial discipline in spending their money with emphasis on having a bank account.
Ms Clement said the five-day training also aimed to develop their understanding about decent work, encouraging them to follow procedures in efforts to minimize harassment.
Senior officer from the Zanzibar Vocational Training Authority (VTA) Engineer Ibrahim Salim said they have been providing training and skills to prospective hotel and domestic workers to develop professionalism in various areas including housekeeping, cookery, and basic local language (Arabic).
“We want to ensure all people seeking jobs abroad in domestic work, hotels, and catering are capable and have the required qualifications. If they have the skills, they will contribute to economic growth individually and the country as a whole,” he said.
Some of the participants — Ms Fatma Omar and Mr Yussuf Kombo expressed appreciation for organisers of the training and promised to show commitment and apply the knowledge they have acquired to overcome different challenges that emerge including not knowing the languages to communicate, which make it difficult for them to work
Ms Omar said “We are grateful for the training including basic Arabic to enable us to communicate with the locals in Arab countries.” According to CHODAWU about 300 ‘domestics workers’ have so far benefited from the ‘safe migration training’ in Unguja and Pemba, and are ready to work in the Middle East.