Declaration of the African Regional Domestic Workers Conference

Africa Domestic Workers Network is formed
Cape Town, South Africa

On June 16 2013, this second anniversary of the adoption of the C189 and World Domestic Workers’ Day, domestic workers in Africa launched the Africa Domestic Workers Network (AfDWN) in Cape Town, South Africa.

This historic conference gathered 95 domestic worker representatives of 17 organizations from 17 countries in Africa, with a total membership of 95,572.  They were joined by the leadership of the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN) from Asia, Latin America, North America and Caribbean. Other supportive organizations came from Europe and South Africa.

The goal of the AfDWN is to build a strong, independent, sustainable and vibrant domestic workers network, with the following objectives:

  • Strengthen coordination and solidarity amongst domestic workers organizations in Africa
  • Share information and good practice in the Region.
  • Help build the capacity of domestic workers’ organizations in Africa
  • Facilitate access to political and trade union bodies in the Region to highlight and lobby for domestic workers issues
  • Use the collective power of domestic workers in Africa to achieve ratification of C189 and improved legislation for domestic workers
  • Strengthen participation of domestic workers organizations in Africa in the IDWN

During the Conference participants shared their experiences, adopted the name Africa Domestic Workers’ Network and its operational guidelines, elected its leadership and last but not least celebrated this special day, World Domestic Workers’ Day and anniversary of the adoption of C189, 16 June.


  • Domestic workers of Africa for building their organizations so strongly and achieving many gains for domestic workers in their respective countries ..
  • IDWN and IUF and its affiliates, for their continued struggle for the recognition and rights of domestic workers all over the world and their achievements in this regard.
  • Our partners that support our struggle: WIEGO, CSC Food and Services, FNV Mondial, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, FES, Solidarity Center, ILO, Global Network, Labour Research Services, and national Trade Union Centers.
  • Media workers that have contributed to making domestic workers visible
  • The government of South Africa for ratifying Convention 189 on this special anniversary
  • And a special salute to our host organization, SADSAWU, under the leadership of its General Secretary, and chair of the IDWN, Myrtle Witbooi and COSATU.

African governments:

  • to ratify the convention
  • to improve legislation, including minimum wages, hours of work, social protection and dispute procedures
  • to ensure implementation of laws and improve inspection services
  • to provide skills development programmes for domestic workers

Regional Development Forums:

  • to support domestic workers rights
  • to lobby with the African Union and national governments for ratification of C189 across Africa


  • to respect the human and trade rights of domestic workers
  • to form employer associations to engage in collective bargaining with domestic workers’ unions

Domestic Workers’ Organizations

  • to continue to build strong, democratic domestic workers’ trade unions that will promote  and protect the interests of domestic workers
  • to strengthen the capacity of domestic workers and their organizations and to reinforce skills of members

Trade Union Movement

  • to support and help strengthen domestic worker’s organization

National and international organizations (NGOs, Women’s Organizations)

  • to provide support for domestic workers’ organizations, under the leadership of  domestic workers themselves.

Adopted: 16 June 2013, Community House, Cape Town

Download the Declaration in pdf format  

Read a report on the launch of the African Domestic Workers' Network