Through this project, Oxfam gained insight into the lives of thousands of women in Mukuru informal settlements who work as casual domestic workers and that these women faced serious livelihood challenges which include low and delayed pay, poor working conditions and sexual exploitation as well as physical and psychological abuse. Despite these challenges, they continue to work under these difficult circumstances for the sake of their survival and to support their dependants which included young children. This level of vulnerability and the labour challenges faced by these women encouraged Oxfam to initiate consultations with other stakeholders with the aim of working with them to reduce their difficulties and suffering.
Oxfam entered into partnership with Prospect Union and agreed that any project targeting the challenges of women domestic workers required baseline information that would provide objective details of the working environment under which the domestic workers operate. Such information is currently not documented. Oxfam carried out this study, which now provides credible data and improved understanding of this informal and relatively opaque sector. With financial support from Prospect Union the study was carried out in Mukuru informal settlement in May and June 2013. The report provides a detailed analysis of the context in which the women domestic workers operate and challenges they face. This publication will provide the guideline on the programmatic areas that Oxfam and Prospect Union will explore in working with and empowering the women domestic workers. It is our hope that other development partners, the Government of Kenya and other stakeholders will find this publication useful in their own work.