Teachers are crucial labour in fighting child labour in Malawi’s tobacco growing areas, it has been observed.
The remarks were recently made in Dowa where 94 teachers from Kayembe and Dzoole Education Zones in the district were trained on child labour concepts and skills.
The two-day training was organized by Winrock International and Dowa District Education Management (DEM) office under the Achieving Reduction in Support of Education(ARISE) project that is funded by the Japan Tobacco International (JTI).
The organisation hopes the training will enable the teachers to take part in creating awareness of the child labour problem and empowering pupils to be prevented from child labour in tobacco growing areas of Dowa District.
In his remarks during the training at Kayembe Primary School, Primary Education Advisor (PEA) for Kayembe Education Zone Hicksford Kamwatso expressed satisfaction with the approaches by the ARISE project.
He mentioned that teachers are crucial in addressing child labour and the training will build their capacity to understand child labour concepts and also their role to address the problem.
“We are seeing more children getting back to school after the start of the ARISE project in Dowa District and this is encouraging. One of the many factors is that ARISE is targeting influential groups that will sustain child labour prevention and elimination among smallholder tobacco farmers in the long-term,” he said.
The Planning, M&E and Quality Improvement (PMQI) Coordinator for Winrock International in Malawi Patrick Makono appealed to the teachers to disseminate the 2013 Gazetted List of Hazardous Work for Children to pupils and parents alike.
“It is essential for children and parents to know what constitutes hazardous work as per the laws of Malawi. We know that schools can play a vital role in creating this awareness hence our training of teachers to enable them understand child labour concepts as well as their roles in addressing the child labour problem,” said Makono.
Headteacher for Kayembe school Eximus Chakale mentioned that the training will enable them understand and appreciate the child labour problem.
“Many of us did not know the existence of such laws as the List of Hazardous work and we will make sure that pupils understand it and be able to report to authorities when they are subjected to child labour,” he said.
Implemented in Ntcheu, Lilongwe and Dowa districts by Winrock International and the International Labor Organization (ILO), ARISE uses an integrated approach that addresses the social and economic challenges that drive small-scale farmers to employ children in hazardous work through increasing access to quality education, raising awareness on child labour and improving the livelihoods of the tobacco growing communities.
In addition to the ARISE program, JTI through Winrock International supports a Teacher Support Program (TSP) in 18 schools that is aimed at building the technical capacity of teachers and improve community capacity to support teachers and education development.
Close to 1.2 million children are in child labour in Malawi and the Government is in the process of developing the Child Labour National Action Plan (NAP) for 2015- 2021.
Currently Malawi has two projects on child labour, ARISE project and the CLEAR project funded by the ECLT Foundation.