ECAM seeks to eliminate child labour in Malawi through ACCEL Africa Project

Employers’ Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) is implementing a project in Malawi which aims to fast track the elimination of child labour by withdrawing children that are in child labour, especially in the agricultural sector.

The project is called “Accelerating action for the elimination of child labour in supply chains in Africa” (ACCEL Africa) project. The project is being funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and in Malawi it is being implemented through the International Labour Organisations (ILO).

Speaking on Monday 28 March, 2022 in Lilongwe during the meeting of SADC Ministers of Employment and Labour and Social Partners, ECAM  Executive Director George Khaki said they are looking at fast tracking the elimination of child labour in supply chains especially in tea and coffee in Malawi and through the project they have put in place some measures in the fight against child labour like,  sensitization of stakeholders and member companies on the effects of child labour and how they can end child labour.

“We have incorporated banks, financial institution so that they lend out money which goes to the tea and coffee sectors and we believe if they include in their policies issues of child labour, it will go a long way in eliminating child labour. We have also engaged media knowing fully that the media will be our biggest colleagues in the fight against child labour”

“We have also committed ourselves to withdraw the children that are in child labour or are in danger of going into child labour to withdraw them from that and probably train them and give them jobs. Our target is that we should at least have a starting point of not less than 50 of these children that are either in child labour or in danger of going into child labour, into the workforce and train them appropriately,” said Khaki.

Khaki also noted that the meeting of SADC Ministers of Employment and Labour and Social Partners will have a big impact in the fight against child labour in Malawi as they will discuss issues of child labour, on how Covid-19 pandemic has increased cases of child labour and how best child labour can be eliminated in the SADC region.

“We are aware that the Covid-19 had effect on issues of child labour. So child labour increased because families had to look for the resources and therefore they had to use children in their homes to try to earn an income. Therefore, this meeting will put a spotlight on the effects that we as Malawi and SADC as a region are doing to eliminate child labour especially in the face of Covid-19”, said Khaki.

Khaki also hinted that ECAM is reviewing the Employers Guide on the elimination of child labour as well as code of conduct for employers on the elimination of child labour in Malawi.

The ACCEL Africa project is being implemented in the Decent work Country programme (DWCP-ll, 2020-2025) especially priority Area 2: Ratification and application of International labour Standards (ILS) and fundamental principles and rights at work (FPRW). The project is targeting five districts in Malawi namely: Mulanje, Tchyolo, Mzimba, Chitipa and Ntchisi, and it will run up to December 2022.

This week, Malawi is hosting the SADC Senior Officials Meeting at the Bingu International Conference Center in Lilongwe. They are deliberating on all Labour related issues within the region.

The meeting will provide guidance on the development of the new SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour, which seeks to strengthen labour administration systems in Member States taking into account emerging issues such as those related to climate change, technological transformation and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The senior Officials responsible for Employment and Labour and labour Partners will hold the meeting from today up to tomorrow, March 29th, 2022.

On Monday, Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule inspected pavillions of different companies and stakeholders at the SADC Meeting to appreciate their work.