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Situation of Women Migrant Workers in the IGAD Region Vacancy in Ethiopia

Countries: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda
Organization: International Labour Organization
Closing date: 12 Sep 2021


According to the second edition of the ILO’s Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers (ILO 2018a), women migrant workers represented 3.6 million workers in Sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for almost 30 per cent of migrant workers, and have a labour force participation rate of 47.3 per cent. In some countries, these figures are even higher; according to UNCTAD’s Economic Development in Africa 2018 Report (UNCTAD 2018), almost 50 per cent of international migrants from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya and Senegal are women.

Promoting and strengthening women migrants earning opportunities, autonomy and empowerment can contribute to family well-being and to gender equality. However, migration, especially that which is undocumented and irregular, can expose women to unequal treatment in the workplace as well as severe violations of their human rights. Women migrant workers, particularly those in low skilled jobs or irregular situations, are vulnerable to economic and sexual exploitation touching on poor working conditions, lack of skills recognition, racial discrimination and xenophobia, gender-based violence and harassment including physical and sexual abuse by authorities, traffickers or smugglers, health risks and a lack of access to justice.

The growing precariousness of employment conditions in the IGAD Region is pushing both men and women to seek jobs and livelihoods abroad. The youth bulge in the region against near ‘stagnant’ economies further complicates the situation leading to mass exodus of young people, both female and male to countries in the Middle East and GCC. There is notable increase in demand for women in the care, agricultural and hospitality sectors in some countries of destination attracting high numbers of women migrant workers from IGAD countries, where they play essential roles in the economies of destination countries.

Most IGAD Member States have embarked on developing labour migration laws and policies. However, these tend to be gender blind and in some cases establish barriers to women’s regular migration to formal jobs in the countries of destination. For example, most countries in the region have signed bilateral labour agreements with Middle Eastern and GCC countries covering domestic work that largely targets women, yet these agreements contain few, if any, gender-responsive provisions (BLAs Background Paper in IGAD Region, 2020). A lack of understanding aboutboth the strategic and practicalneeds of women migrant workers, the limitations they face, and the policy responses needed to ensure labour migration is fair and safe for women are among the underlying reasons for legislative frameworks that are not gender responsive.

In view of the above and recognizing the importance of improving the welfare of women migrant workers and advancing gender equality for greater regional integration, the ILO in close collaboration with IGAD is planning to conduct a study on the situation of women migrant workers in the Region. The assignment is part of the ILO-IGAD project on Free Movement of Persons and Transhumance in the IGAD region (FMPT) project which is financed by the European Union. In this regard, the ILO is seeking for the service of an international consultant to conduct a gender analysis of migration as elaborated below.

Purpose and Objectives of the Study

The objective of this study is to undertake a gender analysis of migration and highlight the situation of women migrant workers in the IGAD Region. The study is expected to describe and present data , including where possible quantitative information on about the characteristics of women migrant workers, its size/magnitude and their working conditions including wages/income, rights and principles at work, sectors where they are concentrated, representation in trade unions and employers organizations/business associations, and coverage in social protection systems, among other things.

Specifically, the study seeks to:

  • Undertake a gender analysis of migration in the region and unveil the situation of women migrants workers, including young women
  • Map out the major sectors and economic activities women migrant workers are engaged in
  • Identify major decent work deficits and challenges faced by women migrant workers;
  • Identify and assess practical and strategic gender needs of women and
  • come up with concrete recommendation to address decent work deficits and practical and strategic needs of women migrant workers as well as implementation of the draft IGAD protocol on Free Movement of Persons.


The study will be based both primary and secondary data. Desk review of secondary data sources and existing literature such as existing studies, reports and relevant academic research on women migrant workers will be exhaustively examined. Qualitative information will also be gathered, including through focused group discussions. The research shall also take into account the relevant comments of the ILO supervisory bodies on ratified ILO Conventions, as well as relevant concluding observations of UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies, with focus on UN core international human rights treaties relevant to women migrant workers as well as national laws, regulations and legislations.

Primary data shall be collected from the relevant government ministries, departments and agencies, social partners, representatives of private employment agencies in the IGAD Member States and identified women migrant workers virtually. This shall be carried out through key informant interviews, group discussions, telephone consultations and administrating online surveys. Innovative approaches that adhere to WHO directives on the prevention of COVID-19 shall guide the whole process of data collection and analysis.

A validation meeting bringing together key informants from each IGAD MS, IGAD Secretariat and the ILO shall be convened at the end of the consultancy to review the findings of the study before it is finalized and published.

Although the outline and final content of the report will be agreed up on at the inception phase of the project, the report is expected to cover, among other things, the following sections:

· Introduction

· Executive Summary

· Methodology

· Review of ILO and UN standards on the protection of women migrant workers (with contribution to be provided by the ILO) and the level of ratification/implementation among IGAD countries

· Overview of existing data available on migrant women’s labour market and migration trends:

  • Available data disaggregated by sex and age (if possible) on the numbers of migrant workers, main countries of origin/destination, profiles (age, level of education)
  • Overview of relevant labour market indicators: labour force participation, sectors of employment, types of occupations, labour market segregation, wages, representation in the informal economy, unemployment and underemployment

· Law, policy and practice review of women migrant workers’ labour market situation during the migration process. This could include:

  • Analysis of laws and policies affecting the situation of women migration for work (including labour law, migration law, family law, recruitment policies, ...)
  • Any restrictions on women’s employment (bans on certain sectors, or countries)
  • Means of recruitment of women migrant workers
  • Pre-departure information and training (different approach for men and women)
  • Access to information and basic social services
  • Evidence of access to skills development opportunities, skills recognition before departure, abroad, or upon return
  • Working and living conditions, decent work deficits (see above), social security
  • Access to collective bargaining
  • Access to justice and other topics of interest.

· Conclusions and Recommendations, including areas for further research

· Annexes

Scope of Work

The consultant will be primarily responsible for:

  • Development/design of research tools: this will include drafting, revising and finalizing the various research tools such as online survey questionnaires, interview checklist and tools for on line group discussions and facilitation;
  • Undertake the gender analysis.: the consultant will be responsible for collecting and analysing both primary and secondary data sources. In this regard they will be responsible for collecting all relevant secondary data sources for the study and contacting respondents for interviews and focused group discussions, where possible. In doing so, they will be responsible for ensuring the quality of information collected and triangulate facts and figures with other relevant sources;
  • Analysis and write up: the consultant will be responsible for tabulation, analysis, write up and presentation of the findings of the study and incorporate up to three rounds of technical comments and inputs from the ILO, IGAD and other stakeholders. S/he is also expected to address comments and inputs from proof reader and editor of the study once the technical content is finalized.
  • Presentation and Validation: the consultant is expected to present the findings of the study in a regional workshop, either physical or virtual. He will address final rounds of comments and inputs from stakeholders who will take part in this workshop and submit the final version of the report for proof reading and editing.

Expected Deliverables

The expected products of this study are:

  • Inception Report: the consultant is expected to submit an inception report which outlines detailed methodology, report outline and assessment tools (including survey questionnaire, key informant interview and group discussion guides) and process as well as potential list of stakeholders.
  • Draft gender analysis Report: the consultant will submit a detailed analytical draft report to the ILO and IGAD for review and comments. the consultant is expected to address up to three rounds of technical comments and inputs from the ILO, IGAD and other key stakeholders;
  • Presentation of the draft report: the consultant is expected to present the draft findings of the study to key stakeholders in a regional workshop, either physically or virtually.
  • Final report: the consultant is expected to address comments and inputs from the stakeholder validation workshop and submit a revised final version of the report for proof reading and editing. He will also work with the professional proof reader and editor, which will be assigned by the ILO, to finalize the report for publication

Minimum Qualification

The consultant is expected to have:

  • Post graduate degree in social sciences disciplines such as gender, development, law, migration, economics, political science or international relations;
  • Ten years of experience in the field of gender, women empowerment, migration, employment issues ;
  • Five years of experience in conducting and managing multi-country research activities and providing consultancy services in the field of gender, employment and migration for international organizations;

  • Excellent report writing skills and ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing,

  • Good computer application skills including use zoom, skype and other teleconferencing applications, managing and administering on line surveys tools such survey monkey and google as well as extracting and analyzing data using appropriate tools and methods;

  • Excellent knowledge and understanding about labour migration and gender issues in Africa in general and the horn of Africa in particular and

  • Experience in working with UN agencies and multi-lateral organizations and institutions such as AU, IGAD and other Regional Economic Communities (RECs)

Management Arrangements

The consultant will work under the direct supervision of the project Chief Technical Adviser (CTA) and technical officer based in Djibouti. S/He will also get technical back stopping support from other experts in the region and ILO Headquarters. The consultant will also collaborate with the national project coordinators in each country to reach out and liaise with stakeholders at national level.

Consultancy Period

The assignment is expected to begin in September 2021 and be completed in three months’ time after signing of the agreement.

How to apply:

  • Interested applicants should submit their technical and financial proposal in a separate email with the subject to “application: Study on Situation of Migrant Workers in the IGAD Region – Technical Proposal” and “application: application: Study on Situation of Migrant Workers in the IGAD Region – financial Proposal” to: latest by September 12, 2021 5:00 pm East Africa time.
  • The proposal and all correspondences and documents related to the proposal shall be written in English;
  • All prices should be submitted in USD. If a proposal is submitted in a currency other than USD, the ILO will convert all prices in to USD using the UN official exchange rate at the date of application to facilitate comparison and evaluation


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