The New Times (Kigali)

14 July 2014

Rwanda: Private, Public Sector in Joint Bid Against Child Labour

The government and members of the private sector have reiterated the need for concerted efforts to stem child labour in the country.

Paul Ruzindana, a legal officer at the Ministry for Public Service and Labour, said public awareness campaigns partnerships had helped reduce child labour cases.

Ruzindana was speaking on the sidelines of the training on labour rights organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), in Bugesera District.

He said the ministry conducts regular labour inspections in firms previously known to employ children especially in mining, construction and agriculture in an effort to stop the culprits.

He added that the ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with members of the private sector under which the latter committed to fighting child labour.

Poverty intervention programmes such as the One cow per family and Vision 2020 Umurenge programme have lessened the need for school going children to source for employment, he observed.

"We will continue raising awareness among members of the public about the hazards of child labour and encourage them to report such cases whenever they occur," the legal officer said.

Leon Pierre Rusanganwa, the monitoring and evaluation manager at the Private Sector Federation, said members of the federation had been working hard to address factors that lead to child labour.

"Having identified the main causes of child labour as poverty and broken families, members of the Private Sector Federation have tied their corporate social responsibility to education and poverty reduction programmes such as Visions 2020 Umurenge programme, technical and vocational education and training, among others."

Rusanganwa said following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry for Public services and Labour, member of the private sector are not only refraining from using child labourers, but are also helping curb the vice.

Jowe Kabibi Kacyira, the legal officer at Central Trade Union of Workers of Rwanda (Cestra), noted that the informal sector, being the largest employer in the country with about 92 per cent of the employees, is hard to regulate.

Earlier this year, the ILO asked the government to ensure that children working on a self employed basis and in the informal sector enjoy protection.

Rwanda, being a member of ILO, since 1962, ratified the minimum age convetion in 1973, and is bound by the convection to eliminate child labour.

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