ECAM takes steps to end child labour


Employers’ Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) has put up several measures, including development of a training manual for employers, in a bid to eliminate child labour in Malawi.

This was disclosed on Tuesday 15 March, 2022 in Lilongwe during stakeholders workshop which ECAM organized.

The workshop attracted people from different stakeholders that include Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU), Officials from Ministry of Labour and others from private sector, as well as civil society organisations.

Among other things, the aim of the workshop was to review and update the training manual for employers, review and update the sustainability plan and develop the training plan.

Speaking after the meeting, ECAM Executive Director George Khaki said as ECAM they have put up some ways which will help in the fight against Child labour in Malawi and one of the ways is developing a training manual that employers can use when doing their work.

“So this is the contribution of employers towards the fight against child labour and one of them is to ensure that employers in Malawi know what to do, they are able to have strategies in the fight against child labour.

“There have been huge efforts that Malawi has and we need to commend Government because it has put in enabling legistlation and it has ratified relevant international conventions. But we also notice that there are some gaps within the laws, for example the Constitution says child labour is below 18 years whilst the employment act says those above 14 can work . So these are some of the issues that needs to be sorted,” said Khaki.

Khaki also noted that the fight against child labour cannot be left to one entity as it needs a multisectoral approach to effectively tackle the problem of child labour in the country.

According to Khaki, recent statistics put child labour at 38% and in the formal sector there is no child labour.

“When we are talking about the formal sector virtually there is no child labour and I think we have made good strides in ensuring that we are abolishing child labour in the formal sector. Now, I believe we have to take the fight to the informal sector where child labour may be rampant,” said Khaki.

Chief Labour officer at the Ministry of Labour Francis Kwenda

In his remarks Chief Labour officer at the Ministry of Labour Francis Kwenda, said as Government they have made a lot of strides together with other partners in elimination of child labour and they have developed some documentations that are supposed to be used by all stakeholders.

“We have come up with a National child labour guide. The aim behind this document is to make sure that all key players take the lead role in terms of mainstreaming child labour issues into their core activities, whatever plans they come up with, at least they should be part and parcel of the child labour issues to make sure that they are participating in the elimination of child labour,” said Kwenda.

He also noted that they have renewed the National action plan which is currently the best for guiding in terms of child labour in the absence of the National child labour policy and very soon it might be pushed back to cabinet for consideration of approval.

“We also have the review of the Malawi decent work country program which is about to be launched very soon. So all these are the documents plus others which are there to make sure that our stakeholders are taking part in terms of elimination of child labour by using this documentations,” said Kwenda.

Employers’ Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) was registered in 1963 under the Trustees Incorporation Act of Malawi. The primary role of the Employers’ Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) is the promotion, guidance and protection of employers’ interests in labour, employment and socio-economic issues.