ACCEL Africa Interview Series: Uniting for a Common Goal -Fighting Child Labour Across Africa

Behind the scenes of the ACCEL Africa regional knowledge sharing workshop we have produced this exclusive interview series, where we had the privilege of sitting down with some of our project partners to discuss their contributions to the fight against child labour across Africa.

Article | Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire | 07 April 2023
Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire - During the interviews, we spoke with leaders from various organizations, including ILO ACCEL Africa, MobiPay, the Restoration of the Dignity of Womanhood (ROTDOW) Nigeria, the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions, the Tea Association of Malawi, the Federation of Ugandan Employers, and the National Centre for Technical Dual Education (Egypt). Despite their diverse backgrounds, they all share a common goal of ending child labour through different approaches.

In this article, we wil take you on a journey to discover how these organizations are making a difference in the fight against child labour in Africa. Join us as we delve into the insights of these leaders and uncover the innovative solutions they are implementing to create a brighter future for children on the continent.

ILO ACCEL Africa: Strengthening institutional frameworks and capacities to combat child labour

Minoru Ogasawara, ILO ACCEL Africa’s Chief Technical Advisor

As the international labour standard-setting agency, the ILO is committed to supporting countries in combatting issues like child labour by developing legal frameworks, policies, and law enforcement mechanisms. Through the ACCEL Africa project, the ILO is leveraging its expertise to tackle child labour in six African countries: Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, and Uganda. The project takes a holistic approach, partnering not only with governments but also with private sector organizations to promote due diligence. Additionally, the project works with workers, particularly those in lower supply chains, to help them organize and fight for their labor rights, including the elimination of child labour. The five prevalent supply chains of cocoa, coffee, cotton, gold, and tea are the focus of the project's efforts.

MobiPay: Using technology to improve family incomes and reduce child labour

Eric Nana Kwabena, MobiPay’s Managing Director and Founder

MobiPay was established in 2016 in Kampala, Uganda to provide farmers with a range of products and services to improve their livelihoods and increase financial literacy. By offering better income-generating opportunities, MobiPay aims to help families afford school fees and keep their children in school, which in turn can help reduce the incidence of child labor. Additionally, MobiPay has leveraged technology to develop products that allow for inspections of school attendance and verify that children are not working in farms. With these efforts, MobiPay is contributing to the fight against child labor and promoting sustainable economic growth in the agricultural sector.

Community-Based Approaches to Ending Child Labor: A Focus on ROTDOW's Initiatives in Nigeria

Sabainah Olabisi Omolona, Restoration of the Dignity of Womanhood (ROTDOW) Nigeria’s Chief Executive Officer

Restoration of the Dignity of Womanhood (ROTDOW) is an NGO dedicated to empowering women and their children in Nigeria through advocacy and community-based approaches. Its various initiatives include establishing community vanguards and engagement officers who ensure that children stay in school, raising awareness about children's right to education, and the adverse effects of child labour in community spaces such as markets and churches. Through these efforts, ROTDOW aims to foster ownership over interventions and create a sustainable impact in the communities it serves.

Malawi Congress of Trade Unions: Empowering Workers to Combat Child Labor in Malawi's Informal Economy

Mary Dzinyemba, Malawi Congress of Trade Unions’ Deputy Secretary General

The Malawi Congress of Trade Unions is committed to improving the lives of workers by facilitating the formation of trade unions and empowering them to lobby and advocate for decent work, free from child labour. They recognize that the informal sector is where most child labour occurs and focus their efforts on organizing workers in this sector. Through the establishment of social dialogue mechanisms, the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions raises awareness about the harmful effects of child labour among households and collaborates with law enforcement and government officials to strengthen the legal framework against child labour in Malawi.

Tea Association of Malawi: Taking sectoral approaches to combat specific enablers of child labour across the tea value chain 

Tonda Chinangwa, Tea Association of Malawi’s Chief Executive Officer

The Tea Association of Malawi has taken a sectoral approach to address the issue of child labour, which has proven to be effective in tackling industry-specific challenges. This approach has enabled the association to develop interventions that are tailored to the needs and operations of various stakeholders across the value chain, including farmers, enterprises, and communities. By raising awareness among its partners about the negative impacts of child labour, the Tea Association of Malawi has successfully eliminated child labour in the commercial sector. Additionally, the association has been advocating for the development of national and sector-specific strategies to combat child labour, making it a leader in the fight against child labour in Malawi's tea industry.

Federation of Ugandan Employers: Combatting child labour at the enterprise level 

Harriet Auma, Federation of Ugandan Employers’ Northern Region Coordinator and Coordinator of the Child Labour Project

The Federation of Ugandan Employers recognizes the critical role of grassroots engagement in addressing child labour, particularly in the lower levels of the value chain where the issue is most prevalent. To combat this problem, the federation has established an annual Employer's Day on the Elimination of Child Labour. This event is an opportunity for member enterprises to receive training on what constitutes child labour, existing laws and policies, and practical measures that can be implemented in the workplace to eradicate child labour. By focusing their efforts on the coffee and tea supply chains in Uganda, the federation has been able to promote greater awareness of the issue and drive meaningful change among their members.

National Center for Technical Dual Education: Promoting a smooth school-to-decent work transition for children of legal working age 

Samir Zidan, National Center for Technical dual Education

The National Center for Technological Dual Education promotes the dual education system in Egypt and its importance for students. Through their partnership with the ILO ACCEL Africa project, in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)’s Technical Support for the Comprehensive Technical Education Initiative (TCTI) project, 500 dual education system students were provided with the necessary trainings to guarantee their protection and avoid their engagement in child labour. Building on this success, NCTDE is planning to expand this initiative to include 1500 dual system students in various sectors across Egypt, ensuring that students are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to protect themselves and their families from the harmful effects of child labour.

In conclusion, the ACCEL Africa regional knowledge sharing workshop has brought together various organizations from across Africa united by a common goal of ending child labor. Through our interviews with leaders from these organizations, we have uncovered innovative solutions that these organizations are implementing to create a brighter future for children on the continent.