85 million children around the world are in hazardous child labour, and about 48 million of them are above the legal working age. These young people have the right to work in conditions that are safe and healthy. The ECLT Foundation promotes decent work in rural communities where tobacco is grown through close cooperation with farmers, labour inspectors and community leaders.
For young workers, this can mean the difference between hazardous child labour and decent employment. As poverty is a main root cause of child labour, improving working conditions for young people above the minimum working age can make a real difference for them and their families if they are badly in need of financial resources.
Understanding risks at work: a path towards decent work conditions
In Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda, ECLT supports and assists farmers to identify the risks for all workers and advises them on how to prevent, remove or control them. This helps to create a safer environment for everyone working on the farm. Farmers, and others who can help them like labour inspectors or union leaders, are trained so that they can be part of the battle against hazardous child labour.
Case study: Malawi
In Malawi, since 2013, ECLT has supported over 30,000 farmers through trainings and information sharing so that they can carry out their own risk assessments.
Some of the common risks can be made safer through basic changes like trainings on proper use of pesticides and dangers of specific chemicals being used, covering deep wells and installing guards and emergency stop devices on tools and machines. It should also be clear that some jobs, like applying pesticides, are too dangerous for workers under 18, even with protective gear.
Making farms safer for young workers today and tomorrow
A key element in ECLT's work is raising awareness about hazardous child labour so that we create institutional and generational change. Training farmers, labour inspectors, and young workers, can change the way people work on farms, which improves conditions for young workers immediately and makes our impact more sustainable in the future.