The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) have signed an action programme to mobilise the country’s private sector in the fight against child labour.
In a statement issued recently, ILO says the action programme will see Ecam establish a National Employer Taskforce Against Child Labour, promote child labour elimination policies and practices across the private sector and facilitate more and better corporate social responsibility (CSR) investments by companies to address the root causes of child labour in supply chains.
“Ecam is proud to be part of the ACCEL Africa project. Malawi, being an Alliance 8.7 Pathfinder Country, this new action programme will help to show the commitment of business in the country to come up with practical solutions to reduce the prevalence of child labour in Malawi”, says Ecama Executive Director George Khaki in the statement.
The action programme, valued at more than K73 million (almost $100,000), was agreed under the ILO’s Accelerating Action for the Elimination of Child Labour in Supply Chains in Africa (Accel-Africa) Project, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
“Through this action programme, we are pleased to be supporting Ecam to strengthen the capacity of Malawi’s private sector to improve compliance regarding child labour, especially in the country’s tea and coffee supply chains,” said George Okutho, Director of the ILO’s Country Office for Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
Child labour is widespread in Malawi with the most recent National Child Labour Survey (NCLS 2015) showing that 38 percent of children aged 5 to 17 are involved in child labour, the majority of whom are working in the agriculture sector, and approximately half of whom are engaged in hazardous child labour.
Ecam promotes, guides, and protects the interests of employers in Malawi in the areas of labour, employment, and socio-economic issues.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has declared 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.
This will provide an opportunity to address the challenges posed by Covid-19 and to accelerate progress towards the goal set by Sustainable Development Goal target 8.7 to end child labour in all its forms by 2025.
It will also propel momentum towards the V Global Conference on Child Labour that will take place in South Africa in 2022.