From October 6-9, 2008 a training course on 'In-depth Services for members' was held in Dakar, Senegal for representatives of French speaking African countries. A total of 25 participants were present from employers' organizations of: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinée Conakry, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The event was a follow-up of the basic training 'The effective Employers' organisation" held in September of last year, also in Senegal. Also unchanged was the fact that the training was jointly sponsored by DECP and ILO's International Training Centre in Turin.
In many developing countries Employers' organisations (EO's) are struggling with financial problems. The number of members is limited and sometimes a considerable number of them do not pay the full subscription fee, if they pay at all. This obviously limits an EO’s activities. The result is that members complain about the invisibility of their EO and non-members have no incentive to become a member nor do they see the added value an employers' organisation would represent. In these cases, offering services plays an important role in strengthening an EO: it makes the organisation more attractive to potential members and thus increases their representativeness and at the same time it provides the EO with the necessary revenues which can be invested in other activities like advocacy.
The training covered all the areas an EO is faced with when wanting to develop, plan and carry out services to members. Ample time was taken to hold group discussions and to draw up action plans for the future.
The overall comments of the participants was that this was a very worthwhile event. It was greatly appreciated by all who attended.