SOCIAL protection is both a human right and makes sound economic and social sense. Social protection enables access to education, healthcare and nutrition and plays a critical role in the fight against child labour.
This year, the World Day Against Child Labour which will be marked on June 12 draws attention to the role of social protection in keeping children out of child labour and removing them from it.
In 2013, at the III Global Conference on Child Labour in Brasilia, the international community adopted the Brasilia Declaration, which stresses the need for decent work for adults, free, compulsory and quality education for all children, and social protection for all.
The latest International Labour Organisation (ILO) global child labour estimates, released in September 2013, indicate that the number of child labourers has declined by one third since 2000, from 246 million to 168 million. The number of children in hazardous work stands at 85 million, down from 171 million in 2000. "We are moving in the right direction but progress is still too slow.
If we are serious about ending the scourge of child labour in the foreseeable future, we need a substantial steppingup of efforts at all levels. There are 168 million good reasons to do so," the ILO Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder said. Despite this progress, the 2016 target set by the international community for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour, as a priority within the global fight for the eradication of all child labour, will not be met.
To have any chance of reaching that goal soon, there is need to accelerate and intensify efforts substantially. Earlier this year, an analysis was undertaken during the implementation of the "Cooperation to Address the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Agriculture" (2009-2013) project where Tanzania was a part of the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) framework of the ILO.
The analysis follows the format to identify and document good practices on child labour in agriculture developed by ILO-IPEC. The good practices have been collected from on-going, or recently closed, worldwide ILO/IPEC projects in Brazil, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Philippines, Tanzania and Thailand.
These good practices show some examples of how to address child labour in agriculture from different angles, through income generating activities to labour saving technologies, social dialogue, and occupational safety and health. Preventing and eliminating child labour requires a multi-sectoral approach: therefore readers will find data on agriculture, employment, and relevant legislations for each country analyzed.
The compendium also includes specific countryprofiles on child labour in agriculture, providing child labour data and list of hazards as a general background of good practices. These good practices may be adapted, replicated and possibly scaled-up in other countries in order to prevent, reduce and eventually eliminate child labour.
A baseline survey conducted in Urambo district by Urambo Tobacco Sector Programme (UTSP) in 2008 estimated that 63 per cent (15,600) out of a total child population (25,000) aged 5-17 years were economically active. Out of 26 per cent (4,603) doing some type of agricultural work, 12 per cent were involved with tobacco growing.
According to a survey carried out by the Association of Tanzania Tobacco Traders (ATTT) children make up 45 per cent of the labour force in tobacco growing in the district, and out of the total population of children aged 5-17 years, approximately 26 per cent of children were engaged in tobacco farming.
"The majority of boys and girls aged 15-17 spent over six hours a day in agriculture doing their tasks. Children involved in tobacco growing are responsible for digging, tilling and making ridges, weeding, watering seed beds, transplanting seedlings, picking leaves, carrying them for curing and collecting firewood for the curing," the survey findings cited.
The time frame of the practice (January 2007 - December 2010) saw that the idea of using oxen was emphasized by the Ministry of Agriculture for increasing production areas and productivity.
During the implementation period tobacco stakeholders, particularly tobacco companies, observed in deep insight that the use of oxen contributed to reducing child labour. Tobacco companies in the area have introduced labour saving technologies, by providing a package which includes a pair of trained oxen, plough, cart, and other equipment on credit to farmers. Neither collaterals nor interests are charged.
This is affordable only to farmers who farm one hectare or more. Smaller farmers can access to it through their cooperative. Having realised high demand of oxen the tobacco companies through the Association of Tanzania Tobacco Trader, (ATTT) and Tanzania Leaf Tobacco Company (TLTC), have formulated workshops for manufacturing oxcart and provided training to local artisans on repair and maintenance in various project areas.
At present a total of 350 tobacco growers are using oxen for land preparation and over 80 per cent of tobacco growers are using YAMAOTEA SUPER, a chemical that inhibit sucker growth and hence the child labour reduced to a great extent because before the introduction of chemicals, suckers were mostly removed by children.
The direct benefits of this initiative has seen over 900 boys and 800 girls children under 15 prevented/ withdrawn and supported with scholastic materials. Children between 15-17 years old: 473 in totals (boys 276; girls 197) who attended vocational training and received working tools.
A total of 300 children (boys 182; girls 118) placed on complementary basic education. (17 primary school classrooms were constructed and 5 classrooms out of 17 were equipped with furniture-desks and tables. One modern girls' dormitory for secondary school constructed).
"The tobacco companies now own initiatives to improve productivity through the introduction of labour saving technologies, such as the ox plough, which have had great impact on reducing labour input and hence contributed to reducing child labour," the report cited.
The assessment of the tobacco growing areas proves that private-public partnership can be used in other development projects, and in the area where government is not capable the private sector can work properly if environment is made conducive and supported by all parties.
The National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (MKUKUTA) favours the use of labour saving technologies for the purpose of increasing productivity and income to the households and, parallel to that reducing or eliminating child labour. In the tobacco growing areas where livestock is prevalent the use of animals in agriculture is widely promoted.
On 12 June, on the International World Day against Child Labour, the Red Card to Child Labour campaign will be launched worldwide with an original song, 'Til Everyone Can See, by Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger and violinist Ann Marie Simpson, with featured artists Travis Barker, Minh Dang, Dominic Lewis, LIZ, Pharrell Williams, and Hans Zimmer.