9 November 2018

Uganda: Fund to Fight Child Labour Should Be Well Utilised

editorial

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) this week gave Uganda and Malawi $10.8m (Shs40.5b) to fight child labour. Child labour almost always abuses children's rights to education, rest and leisure. Funding to stop this abuse is, therefore, welcome. According to ILO, 152 million children are victims of child labour, with the bulk working in the agriculture sector.

Uganda has policies and laws against child labour, including the worst forms of it -among them forced labour in agriculture, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

Indeed most cases of child labour take place on farms where families rely on every member to pull their weight for a living. While some children do this work before or after school, many do not have this privilege. This knowledge and the existing laws have not been as effective as they should be to bring perpetrators to book.

One of the reasons mentioned for this is inadequate resources to carry out child labour inspections and investigations. This fund from ILO translates into about Shs20b for Uganda if the funds will be equally divided. This money should go a long way in facilitating law enforcement agencies.

We hope that these funds will go into areas like investigating the most affected areas as these are well known. Apart from farms, mines and quarries, there are other areas where children are forced to work. Visiting these hotspots and putting this abuse of the children's rights to an end should, therefore, be one of the priorities.

One of the reasons child labour still happens is that some families do not see it as an abuse but as a way of life. The children in this case are thought to be playing their part to put bread and margarine on the table. It is, therefore, important that communities where child labour is prevalent are efficiently sensitised on the crime and the effects it has on children.

Our worry is that this money will become yet another figure in the misused funds column - which is really a sanitised word for stolen funds. Our hope is that this is misplaced worry, and that these funds will indeed help a large number of children enjoy their rights.

The issue: Child labour.

Our view: Our worry is that this money will become yet another figure in the misused funds column - which is really a sanitised word for stolen funds. Our hope is that this is misplaced worry, and that these funds will indeed help a large number of children enjoy their rights.

Uganda

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