Browse by Theme: Livelihoods

There are certain working conditions that most workers take for granted; established working hours, a minimum wage, paid annual leave, social security and maternity leave. Historically, domestic workers haven’t shared these basic rights but a major new piece of legislation could change this unacceptable breach of human rights. On the 16th June 2011, at the International Labour Organisation's 100th international conference, 183 countries signed Convention 189. This landmark legislation mandates state-supported protection to ensure decent work for domestic workers. However, to date, only eight countries have ratified the convention (Uruguay, the Philippines, Mauritius, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Italy, Paraguay, and South Africa). At CARE International, we believe domestic work is “real” work and it is time for domestic workers to be granted the same working conditions that other workers all over the world are granted without question.  

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Along with a delegation from CARE International UK, I recently visited colleagues at CARE Peru (or Cah-Rey Peru as its pronounced in Spanish!) to witness how they are reaping real results in tackling the challenges of poverty and inequality in a ‘Middle Income Country’ (MIC).

A MIC is defined by the World Bank as any country with a Gross National Income per capita above $1000. The EU, UK and other donors are busy cutting aid to these countries,  arguing that in times of austerity development aid should be only be spent in Low Income Countries.

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When I first worked in Kenya, 20 years ago, I saw how farming practices could provide a good life for men and women in rural villages even with little rainfall and where basic services, such as water and electricity were almost non-existent. Farmers and livestock keepers in the dry areas of Kenya have been, by necessity, resilient to difficult conditions. But this is at the cost of hard physical work over long hours on the farm alongside a constant search for additional income sources such as from small business activities just to feed the family and send children to school.

20 years on, rural communities are still dependent on the land but are now facing new challenges from the effects of climate change. Perhaps the biggest impact is the increased uncertainty of the weather patterns. Farmers are no longer sure when to plant, where to take animals for good grazing or when they will be affected by the increasing frequency of droughts and floods. This places a new demand on already vulnerable people. How can they adapt to climate change in the face of all this uncertainty?

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