Why child labour prolongs poverty at household, community levels

02Jun 2016
Prosper Makene
The Guardian
Why child labour prolongs poverty at household, community levels

IN Tanzania, just like in other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, child labour is a growing concern among smallholder farming communities.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for People with disabilities, Dr Abdallah Possi (Left) speaks to reporters after launching the ARISE programme in Morogoro last week.

Speaking in Morogoro recently at the launching of ARISE programme, Director for Achieving Reduction of Child Labour in Support of Education (ARISE) programme, Magawa Abdallah said that child labour was perpetuated by rampant poverty, high illiteracy rates, and socio-cultural norms, poor farming practices, inadequate policy and regulatory frameworks.

Abhallah further noted that among the many effects of child labour, child labourers are deprived of their rights to education and good health. If not attended to, child labour prolongs the vicious circle of poverty at the household, community, and national levels.

He also said that the ARISE programme could have not come to Tanzania if it was not the funding from the Japan Tobacco International (JTI).

“The launched ARISE programme incorporates best practices and lessons learned in Malawi, Zambia, and Brazil. The programme takes an integrated approach that addresses the social and economic challenges that drive small-scale farmers to employ children in hazardous work,” he said.

He further noted: “It does this by increasing access to quality education, raising awareness on the impacts of child labour, and improving the livelihoods of tobacco-growing communities.”

Abdallah said that the ARISE programme was implemented by JTI, Winrock International, and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

“For young children who are in child labour, the programme will withdraw them and ensure that they enroll in school. Those who are at risk will be prevented from entering child labour,” he noted.

He pointed out that the ARISE programme fosters the economic empowerment of vulnerable mothers through training in agribusiness and the formation of village savings and loan (VSL) groups.

“Studies have shown that the economic empowerment of women is vital in the fight against child labour since women are carriers of the household economy, and once economically empowered, women put much emphasis on the education and wellbeing of their children,” he said.

He noted: “Overtime, we have also witnessed how community empowerment and capacity building helps to reduce child labour in the short and long term. Empowering communities and stakeholders to identify structural and emerging causes of child labour and enabling them to find community-led solutions to address them has been one strategic focus for the ARISE programme.”

He underscored that Winrock will implement some of the best practices in this regard for the ARISE Tanzania programme.
“The success of the ARISE programme in reducing child labour can also be attributed to awareness raising in communities with the aim of changing practices and attitudes that perpetuate child labour,” he said.

He insisted: “Vocational agriculture training through Winrock’s Model Farm Schools has also helped create decent rural employment by teaching vulnerable youth how to increase their yields and avoid hazardous child labour.”

He revealed that the ARISE programme has created collective community-level efforts that will help to reduce the incidence and prevalence of child labour through community monitoring and working together to address barriers to education.

“Ongoing support and coordination with government partners and other stakeholders promotes the sharing of best practices as well as coordination on key areas, such as advocacy for proactive anti-child labour policies and the creation of a conducive regulatory mechanism that will help to economically empower communities, improve the quality of and access to education, and build the capacity of the communities to monitor the incidence of child labour at community level,” he revealed.

“It is believed that the ARISE programme in Tanzania will be a success story and your commitment by coming to this launch ceremony clearly demonstrates that with a united stand we can all reduce child labuor,” he insisted.

For his part, Managing Director for JTI in Tanzania, Rob Glenn, said: “JTI understands the importance of Tobacco growing communities around our tobacco leaf purchase department.

We value their development socially and economically. Today we are proud of launching the ARISE programme, which has been developed specifically for them,” he said.

He further noted “We would like to thank Winrock International (WI), an agency specialising in agricultural development, and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), for initiating this programme.

We are hoping to get support from Local government, social partners, and tobacco-growing communities on the implementation of this programme here in Tanzania.”

Child Labour is a real and serious problem in Tanzania. The major causes include: Poverty (domination of low productivity enhancing factors), policy and programmes implementation failure, barriers to education and many other factors.

“There are many negative impacts on the physiological and psychological levels of children due to child labour. Children who are drawn to child labor are basically driven because of economic deprivation, lack of schooling and engagement of family daily needs.

One of the key sources of reduction of child labour is access to Education. And through ARISE programme it is anticipated that there will be a huge reduction of child labour problem for Tobacco growing communities,” he said.

“ARISE aims to help not only children, but also their families and communities by improving local schooling with additional tuition and extra-curricular activities, vocational training for older children, and helping marginal farmers to improve productivity, crop quality and working conditions,” revealed Glenn.

Commenting on the partnership, ILO Country Director in Tanzania Mary Kawar said: “We are pleased that JTI has fully embraced this integrated approach in an effort to make sustainable reductions in child labour in the tobacco sector.”

The activities developed through ARISE focus on a number of areas, including children’s access to higher-quality education, raising awareness of the importance of eliminating child labour as a social necessity, and providing means of economic empowerment for the communities with which we work.

The ARISE programme has also been developed to align with national, regional, and local government policies to improve regulatory frameworks in support of improving labour practices, specifically reducing and eliminating child labour.
Currently ARISE will operate in three districts; Uyui, Urambo and Kaliua in Tabora Region.

These regions have been selected as the initial area of implementing the ARISE programme due to high number of farmers’ base; as the vulnerability areas of child labour issues and focus on the agriculture sector.

The goal of ARISE is to address the social and economic factors that drive small-scale tobacco farmers to employ children in hazardous work.

The programme is designed to increase access to quality education for children, raise awareness on child labour, improve the livelihoods of the tobacco growing communities where JTI does business, and address labour practices with governments.

However, the government has commended efforts done by Japan Tobacco International (JTI), the leading Tobacco producer internationally on launching that special programme support Tanzanian fight against child labour in the country.

The guest of honour at the launching ceremony, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office for People with disabilities, Dr Abdallah Possi said that the government will assist JTI to well implement the programme in the country.

“I have heard that Achieving Reduction of Child Labour in Support of Education (ARISE) was first developed in Malawi and Brazil before it was introduced in Tanzania. The government will give full support to ensure its war against child labour is achieved,” he explained.