East African unions push for joint workplace inspections in IFI-funded infra projects

The BWI East Africa sub-region held a four-day workshop on the Theory of Change and Evaluation of the FNV infrastructure project last 7-10 March in Nairobi, Kenya. Twenty-four participants drawn from eight East Africa affiliates attended the event together with BWI Africa and Middle East representative Crecentia Mofokeng, BWI Regional Education Officer Garikanai Shoko, BWI Global Coordinator for Infrastructure and Construction Linnea Wikström, and FNV consultants Hope Kabuchi and Saskia Brand.

The workshop aimed to plan future strategies to reach the goal of protecting construction workers (including women, youth and migrants) through the application of laws, policies, inclusive CBAs and fair procurement practices. The participants used the opportunity to align the global theory of change to the East Africa sub-region.

As a key part of the regional strategy focused on the leverage of International Financial Institutions, such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), a session was held with Annah Rutebuka Muja, Africa Development Bank (AfDB) Representative in charge of Environment and Social Safeguards in the region. 

The session provided an insight into how the AfBD safeguards system works, including possible entry points for trade unions to get more engaged in the bank planning and monitoring activities. Muja also urged the unions to engage international and regional financial institutions by making themselves more visible and relevant by ensuring their presence at worksites and engaging IFIs with evidence-based facts.

BWI and its affiliates in the region agreed to continue their engagement with AfDB and urged the financial institution to conduct joint workplace inspections in infrastructure projects that it is currently financing. 

In the spirit of solidarity, the BWI East Africa sub-region also took the opportunity to call on world leaders to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They urged the international community to organise social dialogues and find peaceful solutions to stop the human suffering in Ukraine.