Lilongwe — Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, Henry Mussa said on Thursday that Government will intensify its efforts to combat child labour in the country.
Speaking during commemoration of the day for Lilongwe District at Mchemani Primary School in the area of Traditional Authority Chimutu, Mussa said child labour is an enemy of development as it deprives children of their right to quality education, hence government will not tolerate any form of abuse against them.
"Government will promote policies that help to keep children in school. No single child should be allowed to work in homes or farms as one way of empowering them to become productive citizens in future," he said.
The Minister said it is disheartening to note that until this day the world is far from winning the war against child labour if the estimates from both Unicef and International Labour Organization (ILO) are anything to go by.
According to Mussa, Unicef and ILO estimate that 150 million children aged between four and 14 are working.
He called on NGO's and the private sector to join government in ensuring that child labour is eliminated as 60 percent of the country's population comprise of children and youth who deserve full protection from government and all stakeholders.
Mussa commended the Achieving Reduction of Child Labour In Support of Education (ARISE) project which is implementing its activities in the area for ensuring that children are no longer employed in farms as was the case before.
Through the ARISE project implemented by a local NGO, Youth Empowerment for Civic Education (YECE) with funding from ILO and Japanese Tobacco International (JTI), is rescuing children from farms and have since gone back to school.
After school hours they are engaged in various vocational skills such as carpentry, tailoring and welding while parents and guardians are provided with capital to start up small scale businesses so they are able to support their children's educational needs.
"Government realizes that issues of labour are important to national development and this is why State President Prof. Peter Mutharika directed that the Ministry of Labour be among the core ministries," he said.
Member of Parliament for the area, Lefani Thyolera also attributed the reduction of child labour cases and increased awareness on the impact of child labour among the communities to the ARISE project.
The day was commemorated under the theme: "Combat Child Labour - extend social protection. World Day Against Child Labour is observed on 12th June every year.