Malawi Govt Challenged in Ending Child Labour

Kaliati says government in conjunction with partners, is striving to put policies and systems Kaliati says government in conjunction with partners, is striving to put policies and systems - file photo

Government has been challenged to increase investment in child protection and strictly enforce child labour laws in order to end the vice in the country.

This comes as today Malawi on Sunday joined the world in commemorating the Day Against Child Labour under the theme: Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour.

International Labour Organisation (ILO) is calling on governments including Malawi to increase investment in social protection systems and schemes to establish solid social protection floors that can protect children from child labour.

Child rights activists Jennifer Mkandawire says, the country has good laws, but is handicapped on enforcement and increased awareness to counter the vice, as the prevalence rate is standing at around 38 percent.

"As a country, we need to do a lot in terms of implementation of the laws because we already have the laws that protect children from child labour.

But the challenge is implementation or enforcement of the laws.

"So it would work better, if someone reports of child labour and there is enforcement in terms of the law, but if there is reluctance, we still have a long way to go.

"And also there is need for a lot of awareness to the communities especially in hard to reach areas," Mkandawire said.

Another child rights activist Fred Nyondo, echoes Mkandawire's observation that the country has good legislation to protect children from exploitation, but, it’s enforcement and awareness remains a challenge

"In Malawi we have done quite some things specifically in putting in place laws and policies to protect children from child labour. But, what is lacking is actual implementation of the laws and policies that we have put in place.

"So we need to heads up and work together as civil society organisations and with the government as well as individuals to really make sure that the laws and policies are settled in people to protect children. This is because there are still so many people that are violating the laws.

"We are we still getting a lot of children that are being exposed to child labour especially, in the markets, parents sending them to sell things or do piece works together when they were supposed to be in school," he said.

However, Minister of gender, social welfare and community Patricia Kaliati says government in conjunction with partners, is striving to put policies and systems to ensure that every sector understands the dangers of child labour.

"We are doing well especially in the area of mobilisation of people to let them understand the danger of child labour.

"But also we are empowering each and every organisation to have a policy on child labour to so that they should be monitoring and be working according to the policy of government on child labour. So we are moving to that direction, each and every organisation is also going there to have policies on child labour.

Kaliati added: "The legislation which we have is the thing that is guiding us. But also we have child protection and social welfare officers at district and constituency level are the ones that are helping us in curbing child labour in country."

Currently, the country’s child labour prevalence rate is at around 38 percent, with agriculture being the main contributor of child labour.

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