This profile was prepared when Agatha Chukwueke-Nnaji was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Agatha believes that the commonly held disregard for and consequent mistreatment of domestic service and hospitality workers in Nigeria can be eliminated if the workers are equipped with professional skills and are legally protected in their industries. According to Agatha, a change in the service sector is the only solution to forced labor, human trafficking, and other abuses of service employees, especially domestic servants and low-level hotel and restaurant staff. Agatha has established a domestic and hotel/restaurant services program to train workers and assist them with finding secure jobs. In addition, Agatha is reducing exploitation by unionizing workers, providing employers with a code of conduct, mediating in employer/employee disputes, advocating for protective legislation and reporting physically violent employers to the appropriate authorities. Through the Dewdrop Foundation, Agatha is creating employment standards for the service sector, revitalizing a significant part of Nigeria’s informal economy.