A group of 150 workers in the paint and coatings industry constituted the first cohort of trainees under the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s Promoting Decent Work in Rwanda’s Informal Economy project which targets to cover some 3000 workers in the informal sector.
Beneficiary workers also train in their rights as employees, such as their safety, pay, and insurance, among others.
With nearly 90 per cent of the country’s workforce in the informal sector, the importance of such initiatives cannot be overemphasised and we can only hope that ILO Rwanda Office will get all the support it needs to accomplish this task.
For workers to reach their potential they need the right set of skills and work environment and it’s imperative that employers invest in both aspects.
There is a need for workers to be empowered with skills that will make them more productive and competitive in the labor market both in Rwanda and beyond.
But for workers to perform to their potential they need a safe and healthy work environment that inspires innovation, creativity, and imagination. Yet this is not possible if the worker is not sure of when they will be receiving their next paycheque, or when they or their family members cannot access medical care.
That’s why the ILO project needs to be embraced by all stakeholders, especially employers.
Importantly, responsible government institutions, professional associations, and trade unions need to back the initiative.
Indeed everyone benefits when workers are not only skilled but are also motivated and empowered.