Poverty fueling child labour in Malawi – ECAM

Child labour

Players in the labour and employment industry say poverty, induced by the escalating economic crisis in Malawi and Africa at large, is playing a significant role in the surge in child labour cases. 

This was disclosed on Wednesday in Blantyre during the Employers’ Consultative Association of Malawi’s (ECAM) stakeholders meeting on Promoting Public-Private Partnership to Eliminate Child Labour in Support of Education through Sustainable Corporate Social Responsibility Investments. 

George Khaki, Executive Director of ECAM, acknowledged during the meeting that to turn the battle against child labour into a reality, the Malawian government and private sector should implement initiatives that will improve the livelihood of Malawians. 

“Probably we should mention that the major cause of child labour in Malawi and many countries is poverty. So you see that poverty has recently deepened because of the economic crisis that we are sailing through, as well as the catastrophes that we have faced, including the cyclones. 

“I think what we can do as an industry together with other stakeholders is to ensure that we do activities and come up with policies that uplift the economic well-being of Malawians in general. I think this will go a long way in improving education and ending child labour,” he said. 

Concurrently, education rights activist Dr. Limbani Nsapato who is also Edukans Country Director, urged the government and private sector to increase investment in education so that children can pursue their education without interruptions.   

He noted that due to poverty, some children are forced to drop out of school and start working to support their households, a development he said should not be condoned anymore. 

“Some parents would like to ensure that their children can work to support their households but also, there are some barriers within the education system, which puts the children away from school, and therefore they get involved in child labour, including shortages of classrooms, teaching and learning materials.” 

The education rights activist has further encouraged the government to provide a conducive legal framework that will encourage various stakeholders to join the fight against child labour in the country. 


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