Consultant to conduct a study on Gender and the Domestic work sector in Nigeria

Advertised on behalf of :

Location : Abuja, NIGERIA
Application Deadline :22-May-20 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :30 working days (within a 60 day period)

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.



Domestic workers comprise a significant part of the global workforce in informal employment and are among the most vulnerable groups of workers. Currently, there are at least 67 million domestic workers worldwide[1], not including child domestic workers and this number is increasing steadily in developed and developing countries.

Even though a substantial number of men work in the sector – often as gardeners, drivers or butlers – it remains a highly feminized sector: 80 per cent of all domestic workers are women.[2] Their work may include tasks such as cleaning the house, cooking, washing and ironing clothes, taking care of children, or elderly or sick members of a family, gardening, guarding the house, driving for the family, and even taking care of household pets.[3]

Domestic work comes with its own peculiarities and workers in this sector are often faced with challenges that are often multidimensional, gendered and cut across several aspects, including remuneration, working time ,  conditions of work, social protection, child labour, forced labour, discrimination, freedom of association, collective bargaining, access to justice amongst others.

The exploitation of domestic workers can partly be attributed to gaps in national labour and employment and social security legislation and policies. These exploitations often reflects discrimination along the lines of sex, race, nationality and economic status.

In 2011, the international labour organisation adopted the Domestic Workers Convention (C. 189) and its supplementing Recommendation (No. 201) to protect the rights of domestic workers. C. 189 and R. 201 serves as a strong recognition of the economic and social value of domestic work and a call for action to address the existing exclusions of domestic workers from labour and social protection. Given that, most domestic workers are women, these standards are an important step to advance gender equality in the world of work and ensure women’s equal rights and protection under the law. Furthermore, these domestic work instruments set out a framework of measures and principles that can guide action of member states to strengthen national laws, policies and institutions concerned. 



African States particularly face challenges in terms of developing and enforcing laws and policies that address the specific needs of domestic workers.[4]  The limitation in legal protection for domestic workers is often accompanied by limited resources and, in some cases, lack of political will and the lack of data on domestic work. In instances where laws exist, compliance and implementation remains a significant challenge, as well as deeply embedded social norms in domestic work in the African context.  Unfortunately, in spite of the emancipatory potentials of ILO domestic work instruments and despite the increasing numbers of domestic workers in Africa, both national and migrant workers, only 3 countries in the continent have ratified ILO domestic work specific instruments.[5]

In furtherance of understanding key factors[6]  that influence domestic work in the African context, as an entry point for advocating for decent work for domestic workers, the International Labour Organisation and UN Women seek to carry out a study on the existing framework for domestic work in Nigeria. This study will review the extent to which labour and human rights of domestic workers (including the child domestic workers and migrant domestic workers) in Nigeria are protected.

The goal of this study is to produce a situation analysis of the Nigerian domestic work sector, which examines legal, economic, social, cultural and political data that affects and influences domestic work in Nigeria; in order to develop the best plan of action for eliminating exploitation and achieving decent work for domestic workers in Nigeria, while modelling international best practices and promoting the ratification of international labour standards related to domestic work. 

This study would also contribute to a broader discourse on effective and efficient ways of promoting the working rights of women, children within the minimum working age, and persons in the informal sector in Nigeria.


Impact of COVID-19 on Domestic Workers in Nigeria

Preliminary research has shown that during the ongoing COVID-19 health emergency, a number of gendered impacts have emerged, including the fact that most vulnerable and at-risk industries are highly feminised.

Globally, 70 percent of workers in the health sector are women, and up to 80 percent of the workers in the general care economy are women. Domestic workers and caregivers may be particularly vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 and often do not have adequate access to health services or social protection. Women participating in at-risk sectors with limited or no access to social protection, including domestic work and the care industry, are more likely to be exposed to contagion due to the nature of their work. These women could also suffer from loss of income stemming from drastic and devastating increases in lay-offs and reductions in wages and working hours, due to the informality of their industries. 

This study will therefore also consider the access domestic workers in Nigeria have to social safety nets during a pandemic such as COVID-19.  An additional goal of this study is to contribute building a more sustainable gender sensitive response to the peculiar challenges faced in the domestic work sector, in a way that does not reproduce gender inequalities and stereotypes, while improving the resilience of the domestic work sector.


Contributions to Sustainable Development Goals

By examining the working conditions of the highly feminised domestic work sector, this  study through data analysis and recommendations will contribute to  the body of knowledge on achieving Sustainable Development Goals’  target 8.8 (Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment). The study will also contribute to achieving target 8.7 (take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms). As well as target 5.1 (End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere), target 5.C (Adopt and strengthen policies and enforceable legislation for gender equality) and target 10.7 (Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies).

Overall, recommendations from this study can lead advocacy efforts to at national level targeted at reviewing national laws and sectoral policies towards correcting identified decent work deficits.


[1] International Labour Organisation, ‘Global and regional estimates on domestic workers’, Domestic Work Policy Brief 4, 2019 <>

[2] Ibid

[3] A domestic worker may work on full-time or part-time basis; may be employed by a single household or by multiple employers; may be residing in the household of the employer (live-in worker) or may be living in his or her own residence (live-out). A domestic worker may also be working in a country of which she/he is not a national, thus referred to as a migrant domestic worker.

[4] International Trade Union Confederation, Africa Labour Migration to the GCC States: the case of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, 2018

[5] Guinea, South Africa and Madagascar

[6] Legal, social, political and economic factors

Duties and Responsibilities

Objectives and Outputs of this consultancy

The objective of this consultancy is to produce an analysis of the legal, regulatory, economic, institutional, cultural, political and social framework for domestic work in Nigeria.  Using primary and secondary data, this study will seek to establish to what extent the human and labour rights of domestic workers are recognised and enforced, including gender responsive policy measures to promote decent work in the domestic work sector, with particular emphasis on access to justice and social safety nets during health or socio-economic emergencies.

The report will describe and present data on working conditions in the domestic work sector including wages, social protection, role of recruitment agencies, freedom of association and collective bargaining, access to justice and other labour and employment issues. Lastly, it will seek to identify any evidence of violation of the rights of domestic workers, and the barriers to achieving improved working conditions in Nigeria’s domestic work sector.

Where data is available, the report will provide comparisons with the situation of men domestic workers and women domestic workers, children domestic workers and adult domestic workers, as well as migrant domestic workers in Nigeria and national domestic workers.

The study will specifically address the following objectives:

i. Analyse the normative framework for domestic work in Nigeria - including legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks and guidelines - taking into consideration the standards of the ILO Core Conventions, ILO Conventions 189 and 190, and United Nations Conventions relevant to domestic work.

ii. Analyse the current social, economic, cultural, religious or political situation of domestic work in Nigeria including, but not limited to, demographic composition of domestic workers (age, gender, nationality), gender dimension, and conditions of work, utilising updated qualitative and quantitative data; 

  • Analyse household survey data on number of domestic workers and characteristics of the households employing domestic workers in target states. 

iii. Analyse the process and entities involved, such as private recruitment agencies, informal agents, and others, in the recruitment and placement of domestic workers, including, to the extent possible, for recruitment and placement of migrant domestic workers, including children, working in Nigeria. Furthermore, analyse regulations and monitoring framework for the third-party recruitment of domestic workers, taking into consideration the ILO Operational Guidelines on Fair Recruitment and associated International Labour Standards, such as e.g. ILO Convention 181, as well as the findings of the ILO Regional Fair Recruitment Report for Africa (forthcoming, 2020).

iv. Analyse the access of national and migrant domestic workers to social protection frameworks, including healthcare and emergency economic and social safety nets during emergencies such as pandemics.

v. Conduct a gap analysis to determine the extent to which existing law, policy and practices applicable in Nigeria respect the principles and provisions for achieving decent work for domestic workers in Nigeria. The gap analysis will cite international best practices in countries of comparable political and economic status and taking into consideration the standards of the ILO Core Conventions as well as ILO Conventions 189 and 190 and associated Recommendations, and other UN standards on domestic work.

vi. Recommend stronger gender-responsive policy frameworks and government programmatic actions for the promotion of decent work in the Nigerian domestic work sector.  Recommendations should also feed into to the development of a communication strategy and advocacy tools for the adoption of ILO’s C. 189 and C.190 by the Nigerian government.

vii. Develop key policy recommendations to strengthen socio-economic resilience of domestic workers in the post-COVID 19 crisis by addressing key social and economic deficits identified by this review; and advocate for the integration of such recommendations in the recovery effort of the Government of Nigeria


Report layout

The report should contain the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Executive Summary
  • Methodology
  • Review of ILO and UN standards on the protection of domestic workers and the level of ratification/implementation of these instruments by Nigeria.
  • Overview of existing data available on domestic workers and their conditions of work:
    • Available data on the numbers of domestic workers, main State/Country of origin/destination, profiles (age, gender, nationality, level of education)
    • Overview of relevant labour market indicators: labour force participation, types of occupation, labour market segregation and segmentation, wages, employment (including secondary employment), hours of work, working poverty and contributions to social security.
    • Overview of conditions of work and decent work deficits faced by workers participating in the Nigerian domestic work sector.
  • Law, policy and practice review of the domestic work sector in Nigeria. This could include:
    • Analysis of laws and policies affecting the domestic work sector (including social protection laws, labour law, migration law, family law, and recruitment policies)
    • Regulatory and monitoring framework within which private sector organisations involved in domestic workers employment and recruitment operates and supervise of domestic workers rights and wellbeing
    • Any restrictions or barrier to regulating domestic work including restrictions on paid employment (could include political, cultural, religious barriers, as well as based on nationality or immigration status).
    • Means of recruitment/ placement of domestic workers including migrant domestic workers working in Nigeria.
    • Access to social safety nets in the face of pandemics including wages and prevention of job loss.
    • Access to information and services
    • Access to occupational safety and health, social security (including to which extent domestic workers have access to social security schemes currently (NSITF-PENCOM-NHIS) and what would be needed to increase access.) etc.
    • Access to freedom of association and collective bargaining
    • Access to justice
  • Conclusions and Recommendations, including areas for further research
  • Annexes



In conducting the analysis for this study, the Consultant(s) will make use of primary and secondary data on domestic workers in Nigeria, particularly from Abuja, Benue, Ebonyi and Lagos States.

Benue and Ebonyi States have been selected for this study based on preliminary investigations which revealed that a significant number of domestic workers originate from these two states, thus making them key contributors to the national domestic work force as ‘sending states’. 

Likewise, Abuja and Lagos States have also been identified as key national domestic workers ‘receiving states’ due to the significant number of national workers who travel to these states for work in the domestic work sector. Abuja and Lagos also records a high number of engaged international domestic workers, including from the ECOWAS region.

Additionally, a combination of Abuja and Benue (North Central), Lagos (South West) and Ebonyi (South East) will provide a fairly balanced geo-political representation of the Nigerian domestic work sector.

1. Primary data:

Primary data for this study will be collected using surveys, questionnaires and other agreed data collection tools. The questionnaires and data collection tools for this study will be prepared and filled up based on interviews and free discussions with selected respondents and through observation method. In order to conduct field survey, interview and questionnaires will be filled in by the domestic workers (including children), representative workers’ organisation, employers’ organisation, government officials, labour inspectors, civil society organisations, and recruitment agencies. A reasonable number of respondents from each category should be selected for interview, and their views and opinions should be taken into consideration.  The Consultant will employ appropriate statistical techniques to interpret the data in a manner that would be relevant for the study.

The ILO will provide support for the development of data collection tools, particularly field surveys.

2. Secondary data:

The consultant will conduct a detailed literature review of existing studies, reports, and relevant academic research. The consultant will also review relevant Observations or Direct Requests of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, as well as all official ILO reports constituting part of the standards-setting process for ILO Convention 189 (domestic workers convention), as well as ILO reports on good practices with regard to Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

ILO and UN Women will provide the consultant with a selection of relevant reports and literature and may facilitate key informant interviews in the focus states to be conducted by consultant(s).


Ethical Consideration

  • Research participants should not be subjected to harm in any way whatsoever.
  • Respect for the dignity of research participants should be prioritised.
  • Full consent should be obtained from the participants prior to the study. In the case of children, the consent of a parent or guardian must be obtained. As participation must be voluntary, participants retain the right to withdraw from the study at any stage if they wish to do so.
  • The protection of the privacy of research participants by the consultant shall to be ensured.



This study would be conducted through the technical and financial support of the International Labour Organisation (Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone), the ACCEL Africa Project,[1] and the UN Women Country Office for Nigeria.


Timeline. budget and Deliverables

  • Contract Start date: May 2020
  • Contract End date: July 2020.


Tentative Timeline for Deliverables:

  • Inception report and submission of data collection tools: 25th May
  • Field Missions, data collection, desk review and drafting: 1st- 30st June 
  • Submission of first draft: 5th July
  • Peer review period: 7th – 18th July
  • Incorporation of feedback: 22nd – 26th July
  • Validation and final draft: 30th July

The consultant will work for a total of 30 working days within 60 calendar days.


The consultancy fee for this work will be commensurate to the experience of the identified consultant.  


Disbursement will be as follows:

  •  Forty per cent (40%) upon submission of a first draft of the report by 15th June 2020
  • Sixty per cent (60%) upon submission of the final report to the satisfaction of the ILO and UNWomen by 31st July 2020.


[1] Accelerating Action for the Elimination of Child Labour in Supply Chains, funded by the Dutch Government.



Demonstrate consistency in upholding and promoting the values of UN Women in actions and decisions, in line with the UN Code of Conduct.


Demonstrate professional competence and expert knowledge of the pertinent substantive areas of work.

Cultural sensitivity and valuing diversity:

Demonstrate an appreciation of the multicultural nature of the organization and the diversity of its staff. Demonstrate an international outlook, appreciating difference in values and learning from cultural diversity.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced degree in economics, law, labour and industrial relations study, public policy, gender studies, sociology, or other relevant discipline.


  • A minimum of 10 years of work experience in field of law, economics, political economics, public policy and gender studies with demonstrated experience in domestic work sector and labour policy analysis.
  •  Proven experience in carrying out research and analytical work in public policy, on labour standards, gender, labour laws, political economy and trends.
  • Strong knowledge of international labour standards on conditions of work, child labour, equality and labour migration is required.


  • Excellent command of spoken and written English.

Consultancy Requirements:

  • Deliverable based (does not require daily reporting to the office)

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© 2016 United Nations Development Programme