In Malawi, ECLT is funding a project to reduce child labour in three tobacco growing districts. The project is called the “Child Labour Elimination Actions for Real change”. This new project starts in 2011 and will end in 2015.
Project in Brief
|Project Name||Child Labour Elimination Actions for Real Change (CLEAR)|
|Partners||Save the Children Federation Malawi, Inc.Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM)Total Land Care (TLC)Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO)|
|Duration||July 2011 – December 2015|
|Budget||US$ 8 million|
|Location||Selected communities in Ntchisi District, Mchinji District, Rumphi District and nationwide (policy development, advocacy and capacity building activities).|
|Overall Goal||To contribute to the elimination of hazardous child labour in tobacco- growing areas in Malawi within the context of the National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour in Malawi.|
|Direct Beneficiaries||14,725 boys, girls, women and men|
The economy of Malawi is based on agriculture:
- It employs 87% of the workforce and;
- Accounts for 90% of the foreign exchange earnings;
- 65% of the foreign exchange earnings come from tobacco.
The US Department of Labour’s Bureau of International Labour Affairs has consistently highlighted Malawi tobacco as a commodity produced under conditions of child labour and forced labour. This is because tobacco is grown primarily in family-owned smallholder farms and in tobacco estates. Tenant farmers, contracted by the landowner to cultivate the crop for one year at a time, are supplied with agricultural inputs, food and other basic materials in return for labour and a final payment. The cost of the inputs and other materials are deducted from the final payment. Usually, all members of tenant farmer families, including children, work in tobacco-growing.
For that reason, the latest government-sponsored study, the 2002 Malawi National Child Labour Survey (MCLS), showed that:
- 23.3 % of all children (25.4% for boys and 21.3% for girls) aged 5-14 years in Malawi were working; this equates to 730,000 children.
- Of these, 88.9% worked in agriculture, 10% in industry and 0.9% in services.
The 2011 CLEAR Project baseline survey confirms a high overall incidence of child labour in the three districts of the project:
- Mchinji 87.1%;
- Ntchisi 91.1%;
- Rumphi 93.3%.
The incidence of child labour in tobacco-growing is:
- Mchinji 54%;
- Ntchisi 55%;
- Rumphi 39.8%.
- Poverty is the most important driver behind child labour. Living standards appear to be particularly low among tenant farmers and elderly and female headed households;
- Food insecurity pushes families to send children to work to supplement household income;
- The high cost of education and the low quality of education in government schools leads to child labour;
- An estimated 650,000 children are orphaned due to HIV&AIDS. Many can no longer be absorbed into families with adult, able-bodied bread winners and instead grow up in households headed by grandmothers, with little choice than to work for a living;
- Local customs, traditions and beliefs, including gender roles, fuel child labour in Malawi;
- Demand for cheap labour encourages child labour in tobacco-growing areas. 92% of children in tobacco-growing areas are unpaid family labourers;
- A weak legislative system exacerbates some of the causes above.
- The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), in which article 32 protects children from economic exploitation;
- ILO convention C29 on the abolition of forced labour;
- ILO convention C138 on the minimum age for admission to employment and;
- ILO convention C182 on the elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL).
The government Malawi has not ratified:
- The optional protocols to the UNCRC on the protection of children from sale, trafficking and the Child Safety Education Coalition (CSEC) and the use of children in armed conflict;
- The United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime and its supplementing protocol on human trafficking (the Palermo Protocol).
In terms of domestic legislation:
- Article 23 of The Malawi Constitution of 1999 provides for protection of children from economic exploitation.
- The Employment Act No. 6 of 2000, section 21 (1) sets the minimum age for admission to employment at 14 years, except for hazardous work for which 18 years is the minimum age.
- No minimum age is set for light work. Hazardous work is to be defined in the national list of hazardous child labour and the list is currently in advanced draft form.
The Government launched its National Action Plan on Child Labour (NAP) in October 2010. It sets out the priorities for the progressive elimination of child labour in Malawi by 2016. The interventions under the CLEAR project are informed by this national framework.
The NAP prioritises:
- Action against WFCL and hazardous labour in agriculture, which includes awareness-raising and communication;
- Capacity development at all levels, but especially at district level through the formation of District Child Labour Committees (DCLCs) and at community level through Community Child Labour Committees (CCLCs);
- Strengthening capacity to deliver quality education, including Complementary Basic Educations (CBE) and vocational training;
- Improving service delivery to children withdrawn and prevented from child labour;
- Strengthening the knowledge base on child labour;
- Strengthening the policy and legal framework on child labour.
Immediate Objective 1
Initiate participatory and inclusive processes at district and community level that lead directly to the sustainable withdrawal of child labour from tobacco-growing
The project puts in place systems that ensure the identification, registration and monitoring of children and families who will benefit from the services that the project provides. The communities are actively involved in this process, and it guarantees that beneficiaries are identified and supported in a transparent manner. A criterion for selection of children and families that need support is being developed to ensure that children actually see real change in their lives.
By the end of 2015, the project will have:
- 10,000 children identified and registered through mapping exercises;
- 3,000 families identified through mapping exercises.
Immediate Objective 2
Improve access to quality education and other basic social services at district and community level
CLEAR provides financial support to families to ensure that children can attend their nearest primary school. The project is also encouraging initiatives to improve the learning environment at the schools. This includes upgrading infrastructure by constructing and renovating classrooms and ensuring professional development for teachers. Adolescent girls are particularly likely to drop out of school because of inadequate water and sanitation in schools. The project therefore aims to construct and renovate water and toilet facilities. An improvement in children’s performance at school can in part be achieved simply by ensuring they are not hungry and introducing school meal programmes. The project also aims to retain children by providing de-worming programmes and vitamin supplements. To improve access to quality education for older children that have either already dropped out, are in vocational training or who work legally, the project establishes CBE centres and pilot vocational training schemes.
By the end of 2015:
- 6,500 children withdrawn from child labour, 3000 at risk children prevented from engaging in child labour and 500 legally working children protected;
- 40 school-based recreation and learning facilities established;
- 10,000 boys and girls attending basic school, CBE or vocational training.
Immediate Objective 3
Support advocacy to create political and/or social change and raise awareness to challenge acceptance of child labour in tobacco-growing at all levels (national, district, community)
The project aims to change attitudes and behaviours towards child labour in tobacco-growing. The targets for these changes are the people living in the affected areas, policy makers and professionals at national level and the general public. The project is undertaking large-scale capacity development initiatives for professionals, community members and young people at national, district and local levels. The implementing partners, along with the District Child Labour Committees (DCLCs) and Community Child Labour Committees (CCLCs) put in place awareness raising campaigns.
At national level, advocacy work is undertaken for the adoption of legislative and policy frameworks for the elimination of child labour and towards the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP).
By the end of 2015:
- Undertaken national level advocacy, involving both policy and legal changes: the child labour policy; the tenancy bill; the hazardous labour list; NAP implementation and capacity building for the Ministry of Labour;
- Supported the Child Labour Network to better participate in the national coordination and advocacy activities under the NAP.
Immediate Objective 4
Strengthen capacities at all levels (national, district, community) to combat child labour in tobacco-growing, through the development of appropriate structures, policies and mechanisms
The project provides training on child labour to ensure that professionals and volunteers understand both child labour in depth and are able to link the promotion of education and livelihoods directly to the elimination of child labour. The project includes interventions to facilitate community participation and ownership through mobilising, establishing and building the capacity of community groups. The project systematically documents and shares the lessons learnt and good practices emerging from the project with the ECLT, government and civil society organisations in other tobacco-growing countries.
By the end of 2015:
- CCLCs, youth and mothers groups established in target communities and mobilised through social mapping exercises;
- DCLCs trained in child labour in tobacco-growing areas (including hidden forms), resource mobilisation and mainstreaming of child labour in close collaboration with the CCLCs;
- District and community social workers and other relevant professional groups trained in hazardous labour and WFCL;
- Teachers, CCLC members, mother group members and other community volunteers trained in psycho-social support and referral of child labourers.
Immediate Objective 5
Strengthen livelihoods /economic improvement at community and household level
CLEAR will ensure that families of the targeted children are food secure and have sufficient income to cover costs of basic necessities, including costs associated with education for children in the family. The project therefore supports farmers in the production of higher volumes of more nutritious food crops by training them in sustainable agricultural practices and providing limited input support.
Families receiving support to improve their livelihoods have access to village savings and loans schemes (VSL). These schemes are designed to improve access to credit for growth without causing beneficiaries to become heavily indebted. VSL groups are formed and community agents are trained to support these groups. Moreover, VSL groups receive training on savings, loan management, selection of viable economic activities etc.
By the end of 2015:
- 1,500 families rearing healthier chickens;
- 3,000 farmers practising sustainable land management practices, including crop rotation with horticultural produce for improved crop efficiency.
Immediate Objective 6
Promote at all levels (national, district, community) transition from hazardous work or exploitative labour to acceptable work for children of legal working age (15-17 years old)
CLEAR ensures that older children who cannot go back into education or training, or who combine work and education, are protected from hazards and exploitation. This is achieved by developing a guide on the protection of young workers for use by Labour Inspectors, farmers and young people working in tobacco. The guide is based on the national hazardous child labour list, and ILO’s manuals for safe work for young workers. It is developed in close collaboration with stakeholders: land owners, tobacco growers, MOL, MOA and young people.
By the end of 2015:
- Produced and implemented in target districts a guide on safe work for young people in tobacco-growing areas;
- Implemented an outreach programme for Youth Monitors who will regularly report to the Labour Inspectorate.