By Lily Kampani
Lilongwe — International Labour Organisation (ILO) has rolled out a four-year project aimed at accelerating action in the elimination of child labour in supply chains in Africa.
The project, which is funded by the Government of Netherlands, seeks to promote improved national legislation and policies to address the basic needs and rights of children tha are engaged in or at risk of child labour in tea and coffee supply chains.
Speaking at the strategic planning workshop of the project in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Grace Chiuma, stressed the importance of advancing the fight against child labour in the country.
“If we are to achieve the target of ending child labour by 2025 as committed through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), we need to develop robust and innovative strategies,” she stated.
Chiuma noted with pleasure that the project is targeting the agriculture sector where 75 per cent of the children are working and of these, 66 per cent are in child labour.
“I expect concrete agreement on key implementation issues so that the project moves forward smoothly, with each player having clear roles and appropriate support to facilitate achievement,” Chiuma said.
ILO Country Office Director for Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, George Okutho, described the program as tailored with the local content considering the situation on the ground in Malawi.
“What we are trying to do with our partners is that we should not just have one solution, we should also have a holistic approach that will address the root causes of child labour, including the challenges that their families face,” he explained.
Representative of the Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU), Dennis Kalekeni applauded government for providing a conducive environment for labour organizations to function freely.
“It’s important that the project must look at the area of empowering households economically.
“We should provide them with small scale businesses and financial support for capital because once we deal with poverty at household level, child labour will be contained,” said Kalekeni.
The project, which has four-year life span from November 15, 2018 to November 15, 2022, will cover Cote d’lvoire, Egypt, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria and Uganda.