The Employers’ Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) has reaffirmed its commitment towards eliminating child labour in the country.
This is according to ECAM vice president Ivy Kwatiwani who was speaking during the commemoration of World Day Against Child Labour which took place on Tuesday 5 July at Bimbi primary school ground in the area of T/A Kumtumanji in Zomba district.
Kwatiwani said while there have been a significant progress in fighting child labour over the last two decades, the progress stalled between 2016-2020 and currently 160 million children are still engaged in child labour globally a situation she described as so worrisome.
She said this year’s theme, ‘Universal Social Protection To End Child Labour!’ calls for increased investment in social protection systems and schemes to establish solid social protection floors and protect children from child labour.
The ECAM Vice President then assured the Malawi government that her institution will through various interventions keep on complementing government’s efforts in fighting child labour including constructing school blocks so as to keep children in schools.
“A lot of school blocks have been built or upgraded by our member companies, furthermore, most of our membership in both the NGOs and Private sector is also providing scholarships to vulnerable children among other interventions. We will keep on doing this because we appreciate the need to do so.
“Let’s keep up the momentum. Let’s resolve to keep investing in the struggle for the right of all children to their childhood. Be assured that employers are fully committed to a Malawi without child labour,” said Kwatiwani.
Kwatiwani then pleaded with the Malawi government to expedite adoption process of the National Child Labour Policy claiming such interventions at the national level should be informed by the policy.
In his address, Gracious Ndalama who represented the International Labour Organization (ILO) urged the Malawi government to accelerate multi-stakeholder efforts to prevent and eliminate child labour, with priority given to the worst forms of child labour.
Ndalama also mentioned that government should work towards ending child labour in agriculture, achieve universal access to Social Protection; and increase financing and international cooperation for the elimination of child labour and forced labour.
In her address, Malawi’s Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule said her ministry is working tirelessly to enact laws and develop policies to guide stakeholders and the general public in the fight against child Labour, however she called for concerted efforts saying child labour begins at household level.
“It is sad to note that Most child Labour cases are happening at household level and this is why we need to enhance sensitization activities to ensure that our people are aware of their responsibilities regarding child labor especially at household level.
“It is not a one man’s job but concerted efforts between us as government and our stakeholders for example CSOs, MCTU and Ecam and the whole private sector to ensure that we eradicate child Labour,” explained Kamtukule.
The Minister further said there is need to prioritize the elimination of child labour claiming that’s the foundation for achieving the Malawi 2063 agenda.
She added that many objectives and aspirations in the blueprint may not be accomplished if child labor is not fully addressed.
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