Jamaica: Household Workers Benfefit from Empowerment Course at MIND

15 May, 2014, Garfield L. Angus | Jamaica Information Service

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Thirty women from the Jamaica Household Workers Union (JHWU) have been empowered in advocacy, negotiation, proposal writing, and mediation skills, through a $3.7 million training initiative being carried out at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND).

Financed by the Fund for Gender Equity, a special facility of the United Nations Entity for Gender and Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and implemented by the Bureau of Gender Affair, the six-week training also equipped the participants with public speaking, leadership, and gender mainstreaming skills.

Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer (right), presents Head of the Jamaica Household Workers Union (JHWU), Shirley Pryce, with her certification package from the Management Institute for National Development (MIND). Occasion was a closing ceremony held on Sunday, May 11 at MIND’s Old Hope Road campus, for 30 women from the JHWU who participated in a six-week training programme. (Photo by: JIS Photographer)

The course was designed by MIND as part of the Way Out Project, an empowerment programmme for women across all parishes.

Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, noted that the training has improved the marketability of the women, and also enabled alternative employment options for them.

“You need these skills to more effectively negotiate improved working conditions, increased access to resources, and improved professional standards,” she said.

Senator Falconer stated that the Government supports the development and the strengthening of the JHWU, as it continues to enhance recognition for this category of employment, and to ensure that domestic working conditions meet acceptable standards.

The Minister was delivering the keynote address at a closing ceremony held on Sunday, May 11, at MIND’s St. Andrew campus.

She informed the audience that the government will be ratifying the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No.189), and Recommendation 201.

“The Convention stipulates safeguards for the welfare of household workers globally, and outlines provisions to significantly enhance their status and working conditions,” she explained.

Reiterating the government’s position to have household workers protected under the Factories Act, Minister Falconer said members of the JHWU will be provided with additional training and certification by the HEART/NTA. She noted that discussions are also being held with the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL), to provide certification and training to the group.

The Way Out Project began in January 2011 and is slated to end in June 2014. It has conducted 107 activities in all parishes, aimed at promoting the National Policy for Gender Equality and empowering women and girls.

The strengthening of the Union’s capacity is benefitting the more than 70,000 household workers in Jamaica, who are predominantly women and girls.


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