Fighting against child labour through improvements in education opportunity and awareness will only be achieved if different stakeholders and players put their efforts together according to Winrock International Programs Manager Dr Dalitso Baloyi.
He was speaking in Lilongwe on Thursday during the Education Donors Fair which was held under the theme ‘Making Quality Education a reality.
The fair, according to Baloyi was aimed at giving donor community a chance to appreciate and support education for Winrock International’s Achieving Reduction of Child Labour in Support of Education (Arise) project for withdrawing many children from hard labour and bringing them back to school.
“For us to achieve our goal we don’t need to wait for the ministry of education alone to address the challenges these children face, we need different stakeholders to come together to support the long term quality education and eliminating child labour.
“We all have to understand that child labour can be reduced through improvement in education opportunities and awareness, increase economic empowerment in targeted tobacco growing communities and promoting an improved regulatory framework for the reduction of child labour which needs all of us to come together,” he said.
Arise is a programme developed by Japan Tobacco International (JTI) in partnership with Winrock International and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to prevent and eliminate child labour by addressing the social and economic factors that drive smallholder tobacco farmers to engage children in hazardous work.
It aims at reducing child labour through improvements in education and foster economic empowerment for tobacco growing communities.
JTI Social Programs Officer Elvis Sukali said the issues of education can better be addressed with concerted efforts from all stakeholders.
“We don’t want children to be working in tobacco farms, we want them to be in class and I believe that’s the wish of everyone,” he said.
Taking his turn, Central West Education Division Manager Dr Abraham Sineta who was the guest of honour said the project has led to increased enrolment of pupils.
“This is so because the people in the communities are able to draw education plans which complements government plans on the same. So their involvement is a positive sign that we are going in the right direction. What we need now is more support from different donors and stakeholders in order to achieve this goal,” he said.
ARISE project aims at accelerating progress in the elimination of child labour in tobacco growing communities in 28 targeted communities of Ntcheu, Lilongwe and Dowa Districts.