In the midst of an international youth employment crisis and given the need for strong national frameworks for sustainable advances against child labour, the ECLT Foundation undertakes Key Intervention Projects, or KIPs, in addition to our large, area-based interventions.
Taking this approach to work on specific issues, the Foundation is able to focus efforts and pilot new approaches. Through the KIPs, we aim to support strong national regulatory frameworks on child labour and support advocacy-related efforts to help children above the legal working age stay out of hazardous work and in decent employment.
In 2015 and 2016, KIPs in Malawi and Zambia have focused on creating decent employment opportunities for youth, promoting occupational safety and health assessment to improve conditions on farms and training teens on vocational skills.
Assessing and mitigating risks on farms in Malawi and Zambia
Types of Risk Identified – Risks Contributing to Hazardous Child Labour
- Application of dangerous chemicals (pesticides)
- Poor sanitation (improper disposal of sewage/ wastewater)
- Deep, uncovered water wells
- Tobacco improperly stored in houses where people live
- Unguarded machines (e.g. belts, fans, fast-moving parts)/ unprotected tools
- Heavy workloads (young workers carrying weights beyond recommended safety limitations)
Occupational hazards constitute a significant problem in agriculture, and one that directly impacts the ability of young workers to be employed – due to regulations against what could be considered hazardous child labour, as well as farm safety. Hazardous child labor can be seen from the perspective of the circumstances under which it is carried out, like the time performing a task or the age of the worker, or from the nature of the task. ILO Convention 182, subscribed by virtually all states worldwide, provides this useful framework.
When local farmers have the skills to assess risks on their farms, they can come up with simple, cost-effective solutions, which can improve working conditions for everyone on farms, including young workers. Empowering farmers to understand risk assessment and how to improve general occupational safety and health helps to create conditions for decent employment for young people ages 14-18, who work in agriculture.
In Malawi and Zambia, the ECLT Foundation has conducted research on current practices and reached out directly to train farmers on how to assess and address common risks that may make certain types of work unacceptable for young people. In 2015, more than 200 farmers were directly trained and able to put into place new safety measures, which benefit adult and youth workers alike.
The ECLT Foundation worked with governments, local tobacco companies and other stakeholders to continue sharing the good practices from these risk assessment trainings. In Malawi, the KIP linked with the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM), and the Tobacco Association of Malawi (TAMA), which have a reach of more than 30,000 farmers, to continue the spread of the learning.
Findings from the KIP in Malawi have been compiled in the publication: Findings & Recommendations: Decent Youth Employment Policy Initiative in Malawi.