Programme profile

ILO's Promoting decent work in Rwanda's informal economy project

Programme Index Listing

Main implementer
International Labour Organization (ILO) / United Nations
Other implementers
ILO's Lab Project
Swedish Int. Dev. Cooperation Agency (Sida) / Embassy of Sweden in Kigali
2017 - 2021
Total budget
USD $4.9 million
Annual budget
USD $1.2 m (approx)

Project description / objective

To improve living conditions in Rwanda through reduced decent work deficits among women, young women and young men working in informal businesses in the building construction and the garment & tailoring sectors.

Market system focus

Through a sector selection process the building construction and garments & tailoring sectors were found to have the highest potential to address decent work deficits for women and poor youth in the informal sector.

1. Building construction sector

Women and young women have a disproportionate set of challenges within the sector and are almost exclusively found in the lowest-skilled jobs.

For these workers, the deficits to decent work are both numerous and vast. They are most pronounced in areas of:

  • income and income stability
  • social security
  • Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) - with a lack of skills development being one of the key constraints that contributes to poor working conditions

2. Garments & tailoring

The sector has an abundance of women, young women and young men who work across all professions. Tailors working independently or in informal tailoring businesses were found to suffer from the largest number of deficits:

  • long working hours
  • unstable income
  • insufficient health insurance
  • lack of pension savings

Programme interventions

A set of interventions are being designed with the purpose of:

  • upgrading workers’ technical skills
  • promoting procurement processes and regulations that incentivise better working conditions for workers
  • helping improve social security coverage
  • increase market access for SMEs

Below are examples of interventions that may be carried out by the project.

For the building construction sector

  • Conduct quantitative and qualitative research on the potential for creating an industry association. This would include looking at:
    - what purpose it could fill
    - key actors to drive it
    - potential cost modelling for sustainability
  • Assist the main actors supporting the MIR initiative in defining strategies for businesses to move into higher value-addition roles.
  • Review existing informal economy social security mechanisms. Work with associations and cooperatives to improve or strengthen existing social security mechanisms with potential for scale.

For garments and tailoring

  • Work with public and private Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) providers to develop low-cost, short-courses in high demand specialised trades.
  • Support the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority to better define working conditions in procurement tenders of public works projects. Further develop existing provisions for responsible businesses, contract quality or knowledge transfer.
  • Work with financial institutions and business development service providers to promote a sustainable business model and linkages to finance.

[published July 2018]