Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) has bemoaned the failure by government to approve Child Labour Policy currently in draft state to provide clear legal mandate in fighting against child labour in the country.
Despite government adopting various policies on the protection of children in the country, child labor elimination and prevention strategies have not specifically been integrated with a draft policy currently gathering dusts at Capitol Hill waiting for cabinet approval.
Speaking during e media sensitization meeting at Mount Soche on Friday, Ecam Programs officer, Emmanuel Magomero noted that the absence of the Child Labour Policy is affecting the anti-child labour drive.
“Currently we don’t have specific legal mandate to deal with child labour in its worse forms. The policy has been in draft state for years waiting for cabinet endorsement; but it’s long overdue,” bemoaned Magomero.
Currently those in fighting against child labour are being forced to use related national policies such including National Action Plan on Child Labour, Child Protection Strategic Plan, National Action Plan for Vulnerable Children, and National Youth Policy. But gaps continue to exist in labor law enforcement related to child labor.
Despite in 2015, government making moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor by adopting Trafficking in Persons Act and increased funding for Social Cash Transfer Program and supported other social programs, children in the country continue to engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in the harvesting of tobacco and fishing.
Meanwhile, Ecam in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) is implementing ARISE phase II to create multiple partnership with different business sectors, NGO’s, Foundations, individuals and other private entities in ending child labour in the country through education.
Magomero said AASP intends to generate investments outside the funding mainstream and national budget by providing assistance on a short term or long term basis in the upgrading and modernization of public primary schools and secondary schools.
“We (Ecam and ILO) strongly believe that through this program, children, especially in rural areas can have meaningful livelihoods and that the cycle of poverty can be broken. Education is key in ending child labour. And we believe by providing conducive learning environment and support, we can manage to keep our children in school thereby putting to end child labour,” explained Magomero.
“Adopt a school initiative is not limited only to companies, even individuals can do it. And it is not limited to our area of work, interested companies and individuals can adopt a school anywhere else in Malawi.”