Covid-19 Fuelling Child Labour, Poverty in Ghana, Uganda - HRW

The unprecedented economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, together with global school closures and inadequate government assistance, is pushing children into exploitative and dangerous child labour, Human Rights Watch and Friends of the Nation have said in a report released ahead of the World Day against Child Labour on June 12, 2021. School closures worldwide have also contributed to an increase in child labour.

In Ghana, nationwide school closures began on March 16, 2020, affecting more than 9 million students. Although the government has provided distance learning programs, children without access to televisions, mobile devices, and the internet have had little benefit.

President Yoweri Museveni ordered schools closed on March 18, 2020, shutting out half the children interviewed. But the others had dropped out before the pandemic, in most cases because their family could not afford school fees. The government provided self-learning home packages and educational broadcasts on television and radio, but none of the Ugandan children interviewed by HRW had access to remote learning. Only 43% of the Ugandan population had electricity in 2018.

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