Tackling child labour in Tabora

Tuesday June 7 2016

Children should be protected against child

Children should be protected against child labour and other human rights violations. PHOTOI FILE  

By Tasneem Hassanali

International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched a new project last month on May 25 called Achieving Reduction of Child Labour in Support of Education (ARISE) which is being implemented in tobacco growing areas in the three districts of Uyui, Urambo and Kaliua in Tabora region. 

According to Ms Charlotte Goemans, Associate Expert, Child Labour and Youth Employment, ILO Office, Dar es Salaam, ARISE aims at strengthening education in order to contribute to reducing child labour in tobacco production farms through increasing access to quality education. “The interventions will include improving the conditions and quality of local schooling, providing vocational training for older children, linking the children and family to social protection programs, and raising awareness of the importance of eliminating child labour as a social necessity,” Ms Charlotte told Success

The other important aspect the program also focuses on is providing means of economic empowerment for the communities in which they work. “Most people in the districts don’t understand the concept of child labour, for them it is okay not to send the children to school. 

Tobacco farming is labour intensive and that is why the parents encourage children to be in the farms. One of our main tasks is providing alternatives to the family so that they avoid sending children to work,” added Ms Charlotte.

In Tanzania, about 29 per cent of under-aged children between the age of 5 and 17 are employed to work in different sectors, and 4 million child labourers are employed only in the agriculture sector. 

“Tobacco farming is an entry point for ILO and Tabora was chosen to initiate the pilot project because tobacco farming is very labour intensive which deteriorates the health and well-being of a child and we have evidence of the involvement of children and adolescents involved in tobacco production farms in Tabora,” Ms Charlotte explained. 

For this program, ILO is in a joint initiative with Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Winrock International, with involvement of national government, social partners and tobacco growing communities at the district level. “JTI is funding the project and is having main operations in Tabora. Tobacco companies like JTI discourage children to work in their tobacco farms, and this explains their involvement,” said Ms Charlotte. 

Issues related to child labour were one of the programs implemented by ILO when they established their offices in Tanzania in 1992. 

The two ILO conventions in eliminating child labour, convention 138 and 182 were ratified by the Tanzanian government to translate international laws into national laws and policies to fight child labour. The ILO minimum age convention (138) sets the age below which children should not be in work at 15. Two years before they reach this minimum legal age, children can do ‘light work’ -- non-hazardous work for no more than 14 hours a week, and that does not interfere with schooling. 

Children under the Minimum Working Age who are engaged in more than light work are in child labour. 

There is also agreement that some child labour is so dangerous that it must be eliminated as a matter of priority and children withdrawn from it immediately. 

This includes slavery, trafficking, prostitution and pornography, forced labour and recruitment into militia, as well as occupations that harm the child’s safety, morals or health. These ‘worst forms’ are set out in detail in ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.