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Developing Strategies For Change For Women Workers in African Horticulture

This was a three-year project (2009-2011) which aimed to improve the working conditions of women workers on horticultural farms in Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania.


The project combined three core activities:

  • Action Research

  • Worker Education

  • Advocacy


Funding for the project was from Comic Relief and we worked in partnership with three organisations:

  • Tanzania Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (TPAWU)

  • Uganda Workers Education Association (UWEA)

  • Ethiopia National Federation of Farm Plantation Fisheries and Agro-industries Trade Union (NFFPFATU)


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'Our eyes have been opened. We are now no longer going to be taken for granted by the management.'

Woman worker, Uganda

In the first year of the project, over 1,000 women workers were given training on their labour rights resulting in a 10-13% increase in pay for 2,000 workers on 13 farms in Tanzania and Uganda, improved conditions for pregnant workers and increased confidence to raise issues with management on issues such as maternity leave, sexual harassment and lack of protective clothing.

In the second year, 20,000 workers were informed of their rights and as a result over 5,000 women workers organised themselves and started negotiations with employers to improve their rights at work.

In the final year all farms participating in Uganda and Tanzania were covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and in Ethiopia 21 farms were covered by a CBA. This meant that union representation had increased, workers’ rights were being tackled and women were beginning to understand how to address the discrimination and harassment they suffer.

'We are now able to stand up for our rights and face any challenges that may confront us. This education you have given us is better than money.'

Woman worker, Uganda

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In total 235 individuals were trained as trainers to continue to deliver awareness raising workshops on the farms and building on the work carried out in the previous project “Promoting Women Workers’ Rights”, a training manual “Learning Together – an education manual  for workers on the flower and vegetable export farms of East/Southern Africa”, was produced.


Approximately 5,000 women workers were converted to permanent contracts. Over 20,000 workers were better able to understand and negotiate for their rights at work and produced a Six Key Demands poster to highlight their main concerns. The project also influenced high-level policy making for improved working conditions in all three countries.

Project funded by

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