The government has been challenged to work out plans and strategies that would facilitate equal distribution of resources and improved school learning environment, especially in rural areas, in an effort to curb worsening child labour trends.
Speaking at a function to mark the World Day against Child Labour in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Tanzania Media Women Association (Tamwa) executive director Ananilea Nkya called for “trickling down of resources”, as a strategy to end child labour.
She said if parents benefited from country’s abundant resources would be motivated to engage effectively in productive farming and, in turn they would support children in their studies.
This year’s theme for the Day is: “Human Rights and Social Justice, Let’s end child labour. “The government should provide resources such as farm inputs to facilitate productive farming at the grassroots level,” she said.
Speaking at the same event, Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-government Schools and Colleges (Tamongsco) secretary general Benjamini Nkonya said the government should not trade politics on key issues about children because doing so amounted to “sending children into child labour”.
“There is a need to conduct an intensive research to establish the causes of child labour and find a lasting solution to it the problem before the situation gets out of hand,” he said.
He advised the government to involve religious institutions in empowering marginalised groups, including unprivileged children to rescue them falling prey to child labour.
Institute of Social Work student Mbwana Katulo said that increased child labour was a result of lack of parental care in many families and also the price of violation of children’s rights.
“There are some parents who have turned their children into bread winners…they ask them to go into streets to beg for money and others force them into child labour,” he noted.
Earlier, Labour, Employment and Youth Development deputy minister Dr Milton Mahanga said the problem of child labour was not peculiar to the country. “In its 2010 annual report, the International Labour Organization said that 215 million children around the world are still labouring to survive and more than half of these are exposed to the worst forms of child labour, including slavery. In Sub Saharan Africa 65 million children are child labourers,” he said.
He said the government has already prepared a strategic plan in an effort to curb the problem. Dr Mahanga said the plan was being implemented in collaboration with workers’ unions and other stakeholders.
The deputy minister said one of the major reasons forcing children into worst forms of labour was abject poverty.
ILO country representative Anthony Rutabanzibwa said his organisation would continue supervising the right of children.
According to the ILO, currently the number of child labourers in the country has reached two million and is still growing.