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Presentation of the Maternity Protection Resource Package in Zambia

As part of the “Training of Trainers” programme carried out by the International Training Centre of the ILO in Zambia on 29 May to 2 June 2012, this package was presented to 33 participants including the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Gender and Child Development, International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Human Rights Commission, Zambia Federation of Women in Business, Office of the First Lady, Zambia Congress of Trade Unions and the National Food and Nutrition Commission, to name but a few. UNICEF was also on board given their mandate to promote Maternal Health through their Nutrition Unit.

Maternity protection for women workers has been a core concern of the ILO since its foundation in 1919, when the governments, employers and trade unions of member States adopted the first Convention on maternity protection. The ILO is now promoting ratification of the latest Maternity Protection Convention (C.183, 2000)

Zambia has made great strides towards providing adequate Maternity Protection. Nonetheless, much work remains to be done to ensure that women, especially in the informal sector, are granted opportunities to access improved conditions of service relating to maternity protection.

The training sought to familiarize relevant stakeholders through the newly designed Maternity Protection Resource Package (Zambia is the first country in Africa to be presented with the resource package) with a view to creating a critical mass of informed advocates for the ratification of C183.

The training focused on the recently published ILO Maternity Protection Resource Package (2012, that can be used by governments, trade unions, employers’ organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), researchers and practitioners, United Nations (UN) officials and others and can be combined for appropriate capacity-building, training and awareness-raising residential and distance-learning activities.

In her opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Gender, Ms Edwidge Mutale, restated the Government’s commitment to improving working conditions of the labour force, and particularly those of women workers. She further shared the Government’s intention of enacting CEDAW into domestic law, ratified by Zambia, under which maternity protection is articulated. The PS also announced the establishment of an inter-ministerial coordination committee to implement the ratification process.

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