Winning Together

Posted January 22, 2021
Kenya Union of Hair and Beauty Workers officials signing a Collective Bargaining Agreement to improve the workers terms and working conditions in the industry in March, 2020.



Kenya Union of Hair and Beauty Workers (KUHABWO) is a Trade Union which was established in 2009 and registered in 2010 in line with a resolution passed in a meeting attended by workers in Hair and Beauty industry and labor rights activists. The objective was to review and discuss the report on baseline survey which was carried out by a team of labor and human rights activists in Hair and Beauty Industry aimed to study the violation of labor rights and to organize the workers in Hair and Beauty Industry. After the baseline survey report was tabled and discussed by the workers representatives from the Industry from four Counties, namely, Nairobi, Machakos, Kiambu and Laikipia . After serious deliberation on the research findings, it was enormously resolved that there was need to Register the Trade Union .


KUHABWO was then registered as a trade union in December 2010 by the registrar of Trade Unions with registration number TU/157. It represents workers in both formal and informal sectors. It has a membership of over 3000 people covering five counties namely Machakos, Nairobi, Kiambu, Laikipia and Nakuru County which was established in April 2020 during COVID-19 Pandemic



The year 200 has been the hardest year in the country and globally due to the Corona Virus pandemic which saw many people lose jobs, income and caused mental illness due to the outbreak of the pandemic. Despite all the challenges this year, we have good things to celebrate. These include;

  1.  In March 2020, the Union signed a recognition agreement with Black and Beauty company and we are now in the process of negotiating a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
  2. We established an association of hairdressers in Nakuru County which led the solidarity of members and we mobilized their Member of Parliament to donate sanitizers and masks to hairdressers to ensure continuity of their business during the pandemic. They also received information on Covid-19 Preventative protocol from the Government.The same group also established a platform which they are using for communication on matters concerning them and for advertising for hairdressing jobs.
  3.  Between Augusts to November 2020, the union in partnership with IndustriALL regional and national office and affiliated Unions in Kenya carried out awareness campaigns on Covid-19 and also organized workers in various work places into joining union membership in Nairobi.
  4. In one of the hair piece  manufacturing companies in the country, the union managed to secure back  jobs for 160  union members who had been sent home in March 2020 on unpaid leave and replaced with casual workers
  5. KUHABWO Sacco in partnership with  Kenya Union of Saving and Credit Cooperatives KUSCCO issued of food vouchers to SACCO members



  • Following the pandemic disruption, the union intends to strengthen a saving scheme through the cooperative Sacco by encouraging members to save and borrow for investments as well as introduce a welfare scheme for both the formal and informal members.
  • The union will also crate awareness on social protection schemes to members and encourage them to join for their present and future benefits and include clauses in the collective barging that will enable union members
  • The Union will also follow up with Ministry of Labour to put a regulatory order in the hair and beauty industry which will enforce the labour law and minimizing workers exploitation by employers
  • Seek partners and collaborators in accomplishing the above major activities.
  • Organize an establish associations for hair dressers to create awareness on their rights.


KUHABWO wishes to thank the following partners who help actualize the above activities during the pandemic duration n 2020;

  1. Central Organization of Trade Unions –COTU Kenya
  2. Ministry of Labour Kenya
  3. Federation of Kenya Employers FKE
  4. IndustriALL
  5. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung- Kenya
  6. Kenya Union of Saving and Credit Cooperatives-KUSCCO

Finally, we are  pleased to highlight that KUHABWO was selected by COTU Kenya in January this year we sit in a committee that is working on decent work and social protection to date, where we represent informal workers.

Cecily Mwangi, General Secretary / Founder, KUHABWO.



This story was submitted in response to Her Power. Our Power..

Comments 9

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Jill Langhus
Jan 23
Jan 23

Hello Cecily,

Congrats on your first post and the inception of KUHABWO. What a great idea and initiative. It sounds like you laid a great foundation and have already made quite a big impact. Looking forward to hearing more about it.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Tamarack Verrall
Jan 23
Jan 23

Hello Cecily,
What tremendous news, and such a clear example of what good things can happen when people come together strongly enough to unionize. The work stability, the resect for the work done, spreading the idea through campaigns, new regulations, an association - Wow! Trade Unions have helped so may people. It takes strong people to make them happen. Inspiring news. Congratulations!

Jan 24
Jan 24

Hello and congratulations on all that your group has accomplished so far. Having a union brings respect and collective power to workers. So very needed, especially as we all move forward through the ravages of the pandemic. Keep up the impressive work you are doing! I look forward to hearing more about KUHABWO in the future.

Jan 24
Jan 24

Welcome to World Pulse and thanks for bringing KUHABWO to our attention.
I applaud you for your courage in forming this Union, having it recognized and incorporated.
You are great role model, and have provided leadership to other businesses to follow your example and unionize because that gives you all protection and security.
Congratulations. More power to you.

Thank you Kabahenda for welcoming us to World Pulse fraternity.
We look forward to learning from you as together we can change the world and make it a better place for women who are voiceless and marginalized in the society. Those are the women KUHABWO fights
for to give them collective power to fight and demand for their right so as to improve their. livelihoods. Wish to learn about your Organization.
Best Regards
Cecily Mwangi

Nini Mappo
Jan 25
Jan 25

Hello Cecily,
Welcome to World Pulse. It is great to read of this empowering step for heair and beauty workers. It is really incredible because I never knew of it's existence. I grew up with KNUT and Atwoli all over the news but I actually never considered that a trade union for hair and beauty workers might be beneficial.

I congratulate you because this is thinking outside the box, but it is really crucial as it's looking after low income earners who through this Union get recognition, respect, and acknowledgement of the value they add to the economy and the society at large.

Good on you and your team for the inception, interventions, worker support, and all you have achieved so far.

Hello Karen and thank you for welcoming KUHABWO to World Pulse fraternity.
We look forward to learning more from the global movement through information sharing and networking. We are proud to be associated with sisters who make a difference in others lives.
Would also wish to hear of what you are doing for women and girls.
Best Regards.

Hello, Cecily,

Congratulations on your first post! Congratulations on your successful operation of KUHABWO, too! This is great news indeed. I'm impressed at how you manage to keep this going amid the pandemic. How inspiring, dear! Thank you for sharing this with us. I hope you keep us posted with updates.

Beth Lacey
Feb 01
Feb 01

Amazing accomplishments! I look forward to hearing more.