Efforts needed to withdraw 4 million child labourers in TZ

04Jul 2016
Daniel Semberya
The Guardian
Efforts needed to withdraw 4 million child labourers in TZ

Child labour is a global social as well as an economic problem and its solutions are not easy to attain without concrete plans, and each one of us should actively participate and support the Government efforts in eradicating this problem in various sectors.

The Director of the ILO Country office, Dar es Salaam, Mary Kawar (File photo)

The Tabora Regional Commissioner, Dr Aggrey Mwanri said that the government has included all matters pertaining to child labour, protection and the rights of the child in the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP) and the Labour Relations act No. 6 (2004).

In short the law directly forbids child labour in all forms. The law of the child (2009) prohibits child labour.

As the World day against child labour 2016 was being marked globally, in Tanzania the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Parliamentary Affairs and the Disabled, social partners and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) recently organised a two-day capacity building workshop that took place in Tabora, Tanzania.

The workshop targeted at building capacity of line ministries’ staff in the region and at district levels on child labour issues.

Dr Mwanri told participants in that workshop that the government had established various committees from district to national levels with the aim of eradicating child labour, which was becoming a threat to the nation.

Further steps by, the responsible ministry, include the listing and of categorisation of all hazardous work to children, ratification of ILO conventions Nos. 138 (1973) and 182(1999) concerning the worst forms of child labour and the development of the national action plan on the elimination of child labour in collaboration with various stakeholders.

He therefore challenged participants to take the training workshop seriously especially in using the skills gained in the execution of the new project, elimination of child labour in Tobacco growing communities in Tabora region (ARISE) and address the main causes of child labour so as to ensure success in combating this problem.

The areas to be covered during the workshop include, child labour structures at regional, and district, levels, Child labour and the crop calendar, child labour legislative framework, and the national action plan for the elimination of child labour and its enforcement. Others are district plans and budgets on child labour, child protection, social protection and capacity needs assessment.

On her part, Charlotte Goemans, ILO’s Associate Expert on Child Labour and Youth Employment, who spoke on behalf of the Director, ILO Country office, Dar es Salaam, Mary Kawar, cautioned “…there are currently around 4 million children in Tanzania who are child labourers; this is as much as 29 per cent of all children in Tanzania… We do not want this to continue, we have to break the cycle. …”.

She further reminded participants on the theme of this year’s World Day Against Child Labour, ‘End child Labour in Supply Chains, it’s everyone’s business’ which is perfectly in line with the objectives of the ARISE project which is aimed at effectively eradicating child labour in various sectors but of course with a focus on the agriculture sector.

Charlotte reiterated on the execution of the project and the role of the participants “…We should know that the project belongs to you and your communities and not to sponsors/partners...

It is for the Government, workers’ and employers’ organizations to manage it and implement it… The other stakeholders will just support it; let us work together and focus on results for our children and communities to thrive…”

Background information

Tanzania developed its National Action Plan (NAP) for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour (WFCL) way back in 2009. The tool considers the worst forms of child labour as constituting exploitation and gross violation of human rights which takes place at house hold, community, institutions and enterprise levels.

Efforts and responses are therefore being addressed at all these levels. It also emphasizes that power to prevent and influence responses against WFCL would require mainstreaming and designing policies and legislations and procedures that provide for mandated responses by both designated public and all other stakeholders.

The NAP’s cornerstone is the realisation of the rights of the child which calls for advancement of the social development agenda to protect and restore children’s dignity and wellbeing. The workshop and the new project is therefore one of the new openings to help fulfill children’s rights to survival, development and protection.

Furthermore, in order to ensure child labour becomes history in Tanzania, the Japan Tobacco International (JTI) in collaboration with the ILO, Winrock International and the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Parliamentary Affairs and the disabled, Tanzania, recently launched a multi-year programme called ARISE to help reduce child labour in the Districts of Kaliua, Uyui and Urambo, Districts in Tabora Region.

The efforts are meant to address poverty of households which is one of the root causes of child labour. “We are determined to ensure that all children have access to education as we are now implementing the free education initiative for primary and secondary education levels.”

According to the Integrated Labour Force Survey undertaken last year, there are more than 4 million children in child labour. About 29 percent of children aged 5-17 years, are engaged in child labour in various economic sectors, including agriculture, domestic work, fishing, and mining industries.

ILO from time to time has been commending the government for the measures already undertaken to combat the scourge, among them ratification of ILO Conventions No. 182 and 138 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and the Minimum Age for Employment, implementation of the national Time-Bound programme for the elimination of child labour and development of the National Action Plan (NAP) for the elimination of child labour.

To date, thousands of children have been withdrawn from child labour and provided with education and rehabilitation services, families of child labourers have been supported with alternative income opportunities, tens of thousands of vulnerable children have been prevented from becoming child labourers…

On his part, Rob Glenn, Managing Director, JTI in Tanzania said the programme will benefit the communities in Tabora region especially those involved in tobacco production by reducing the number of child labour and educate the society about its consequences.

“The programme is designed to increase access to quality education for children, raise awareness on child labor, and improve the livelihoods of the tobacco growing communities …also improving local schooling with additional tuition as well as offering vocational training for older children and helping marginal farms to improve productivity, crop quality and working conditions,” he noted.

To date, the programme has being successful in Brazil, Malawi and Zambia with over 14,900 children and youth enrolled in formal and informal education, and more than 50,000 community members educated on child labor elimination.

Since 1992, the ILO through its international programme for the elimination of child labour (IPEC), has provided technical assistance to Governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations, businesses and civil society organisations, to eliminate child labour in more than 107 countries.

Through this programme, from projects funded during the period 1995-2010, a total of 985,698 children were withdrawn or prevented from entering child labour through the provision of educational and other opportunities.

159 new laws related to child labour have been adopted in 59 countries and 57 countries were supported to formulate, adopt and implement specific policies, plans and programmes designed to combat child labour.

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