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Unwrapping The Domestic Workers Business; Opportunities, Challenges & Solutions

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By Amon Baita

A domestic worker (call it housemaid) earns an average of Shs100, 000 per month in Uganda. This means that the person earns a paltry Shs1.2m in a year despite the many needs to spend on.

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On the contrary, the same worker in the Middle East countries earns an average of Shs900, 000 per month, implying that the person will bag about Shs10.8m (Ten million two hundred thousand shillings) in a year.

The wage disparity between the two countries is quite huge.

But a worker in the Middle East is entitled to other benefits as provided under the law that include free accommodation, free food, medical insurance and bonuses. When these benefits are converted into monetary terms, it’s clear the employer in Middle East countries spends so much on a domestic worker compared to Uganda.

The availability of opportunities to work as a domestic worker in Middle East countries has transformed lives of many Ugandans who had no hope of getting out of their miserable poor conditions.

They are now able to save, invest in businesses and acquire property.

Many of these are not so much educated; you just need to communicate in English and ready to work to get the job.

Factors pushing Ugandans to go work as domestic workers include poverty of the households, early pregnancies and broken families.

Domestic workers are approximately 30% of all migrant employees in the Middle East.

Uganda association for External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) is doing a great job to ensure domestic workers from Uganda are treated well and work under better conditions.

UAERA’s cardinal objective is to keep/ get these youths off the streets, train and put them into productive employment through which they are able to contribute to nation building and development.

Given the high unemployment levels in Uganda, it is justfiavle for Ugandans to seek for greener pastures abroad.

What is important now is government to join UAERA in streamlining the externalization of labour.

Research shows that countries that have imposed restrictions on the movement of migrant workers have ended up with more of their people being trafficked and ending up in miserable situations.

It is good news that Uganda has already signed two bilateral labour agreements; with The Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Between Jan-2016 and Jul 2017, Uganda imposed a ban on externalization of domestic workers due to many reported cases in social and mainstream media of mistreatment of Ugandan girls in the host countries especially Saudi Arabia.

However, during the same period, 30,000 (Thirty thousand) Ugandan ladies were either trafficked or left on their own to Oman and other destinations.

Currently, Oman is not an authorized destination of Uganda female domestic workers. Ugandan male workers and female professionals are permitted to work anywhere in the world as long as there is proof of availability of genuine employment.

The other countries in the Middle East have also strengthened their labour laws for protection of the workers’ human rights.

These measures have in turn tremendously improved the conditions of migrant workers.

Opinion leaders like politicians, religious leaders, civil society and the general public ought to know that there’s a distinction between safe labour migration and trafficking of persons.

Trafficked people carry the risk of going to the unknown destinations and therefore end up mistreated, tortured and dead in some cases.

That’s why UAERA and government are emphasizing that Ugandans seeking jobs abroad should travel through genuine licensed companies.

Ugandans who go through members companies of UAERA are captured in the digitalized system, monitored and protected.

The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Labor and Social Development has led to the introduction of digitization that has revolutionized the processes of recruitment and monitoring of workers from Uganda in the destination countries.

Regulation and continued guidance about the industry and establishment of a labor liaison office is also a step in the right direction in as far as streamlining externalization of labour is concerned.

Mosaned, an online monitoring system that is used to manage the recruitment process was introduced as well as a four party standard employment contract which is signed by employer, employee, Source Company and Destination Company.

The labour dispute and settlement centres have also been established in several cities of Saudi Arabia manned by judges but also hefty penalties for employers who violate employees’ human rights have been put in place.

Government has also established a human rights department at the domestic center of the ministry of labour boosted by establishment of call centres to respond to labour complaints.

Establishment of Reception centers with medical facilities in major cities to cater for workers who may be distressed, stranded or unwell are also in place.

It’s also compulsory for a domestic worker to be provided with a mobile phones so that they can easily and freely communicate with their people back home.

Termination of the contract is also acceptable in case either party is not satisfied with the terms and conditions of the contract.

Lastly, there is provision of return air tickets by the government of Saudi Arabia to returning workers who may find challenges and are compelled to leave the country as well as compulsory opening of bank accounts for all migrant workers and payment of wages through the banks.

Challenges to the Industry

Adventurers

These are youth who venture on their own to find jobs abroad. They travel on tourists /Visit visas and many of them fail to get the jobs before the expiry of their visas.

Others run out of money and get stranded, send messages on social media about torture and cause public anxiety.

Human Trafficking

Due to lack of information about formal channels of getting employment abroad, many youths are lured by human traffickers , who smuggle the victims and end up in difficult situations in countries of destination.

Negative Publicity

As a result of human trafficking and adventurism, the media portrays labour externalization as risky, dangerous and fake.

UAERA has strengthened the secretariat to sensitize the public about the externalization of labour; it is safe and paying if one goes through licensed companies.

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Lynda Ddane is Making Men Go Crazy on TV: Martha Kay’s Successor

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By Staff Writer

Lynda Ddane is everything we’ve been waiting for on TV. UBC did not do her full service. But finally we have her on NTV.

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And if feedback is to go by, the men can’t get enough of Lynda Ddane. Lynda also happens to be the queen of TikTok formerly musical.ly

She is fun, dramatic, but above all, she has the body to kill for. We share some of her awesome photos just to confirm

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Former BigEye.ug writer Jonah Kirabo set to represent Uganda in Turkey

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By Staff Writer

Former BigEye.ug writer and journalist, Jonah Kirabo is set to represent Uganda in a Turkish annual leadership conference, this website has confirmed.

Named LOCALINTERNational Conference, the programme gathers recent university graduates every year in Turkey’s capital city; Ankara as well as other cities in Turkey such as Istanbul among others to provide graduates with local governance training through instructions, practical governance and field visits including social activities and trips within Turkey and all expenses are covered by Turkey’s Union of Municipalities.

This will be the first time that a Ugandan is selected to attend this conference that happens every year since 2012.

An excited Jonah Kirabo took to his social media to announce the milestone saying that he owes his success to God as over 10 Ugandan’s applied for the opportunity but it was only him that was chosen.

“Proud to be the first ever Ugandan to be selected to attend the LOCALINTERNational Conference that is hosted annually in Turkey since 2012. Over 10 Ugandans applied this year but I was the only one who was selected to join the other 41 recent graduates from Europe, Asia, South American and Africa,” Jonah said in part.

He told this website that he hopes to use the skills from the conference to boast his journalism and leadership skills when he is back.

The conference will take place in Turkey between 18th – 29th August 2019.

*About Jonah Kirabo*

Aged 22, Jonah Kirabo is a recent graduate of Business Administration from Makerere University.

Despite pursing a business degree, Jonah has always had a passion for journalism and leadership. While at Campus, he worked as news reporter for several blogs and local websites including BigEye.ug and Campus Eye before joining the Nile Post where he is currently employed.

He is also a current student of journalism and media at the Kansanga based Media Challenge Initiative.

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Kiira Motors Car Assembly Plant Now 10% Complete

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By Staff Writer

Uganda will soon assemble its own cars at scale. The ongoing work at the construction site of Kiira Motors gives all the reason to believe.

“The biggest factor about any car company is its assembly plant, everything else is a walk over,” an inhouse engineer tells us.

Here are some of the photos from the site.

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