'The shocking new figures from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF released last year show that in the first four years of the SDGs, child labour increased by 8 million. Since then, the international response to COVID-19 has provided little support for the world’s poorest families, leading to the anticipated further increase of at least 9 million more child labourers by the end of this year and, if adequate social protection measures are not in place, a possible further increase of 46 million child labourers. The international community agreed on a deadline of 2025 for the elimination of all forms of child labour and instead, it is rising - the world is failing at its promise to leave no one behind.' – ILO
Over 4000 participants joined the 5th Global Conference on the elimination of Child Labour, in Durban, South Africa. The Programme of the conference included forums, panel discussions and brainstorming sessions where prominent speakers, representatives and participants shared their experiences and discussed critical issues while giving solutions to ending Child Labour.
During the opening session, the President of South Africa, H.E Cyril Ramaphosa noted that child labour perpetuates the cycle of poverty thus denying young people the education they need to improve their circumstances. A couple of speakers echoed the impacts of child labour and how it enhances poverty. The General Secretary of COSATU, Mr Bheki said the inability to absorb economic shocks is a big contributor to rendering households vulnerable to child labour. Whereas most people associate child labour with underaged children working in factory plants and farms, domestic child labour was often ignored. When young children are forced to take care of their ageing or ailing family members, when they are forced to work on the family farms, when they are forced to take care of their younger siblings, they are denied their rights to be children and coarse to mature above their ages.
Throughout the 6-day conference, great ideas and solutions were shared. The European Union (EU) guaranteed to invest 10 million euros to target child labour in value chains. They are working with the ILO and other international organizations to share knowledge and data and implement relevant projects." The evidence that we have, and the rich experience of the past decade means that we know what needs to be done, we know what works against child labour" said the ILO Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder.
The Executive Director & CEO of the Federation of Kenya Employers' who doubles up as the Vice President for Africa, International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Secretary-General of Business Africa Employers' Confederation (BUSINESSAfrica), Ms Mugo, who wore her couple of hats as the employers’ representative, urged all to redouble their efforts and work better together as they seek to address the root causes of child labour. "Collective action is key if we want to succeed!" After the six-day conference, the participants agreed on what was dubbed the Durban Call to Action to end Child Labour by the year 2025. The following are some of the calls to action points:
· Strengthen the prevention and elimination of child labour, including its worst forms, forced labour, modern slavery and trafficking in persons, and the protection of survivors through data-driven and survivor-informed policy and programmatic responses.
· Realize children’s right to education and ensure universal access to free, compulsory, quality, equitable and inclusive education and training.
· Achieve universal access to social protection.
· Increase financing and international cooperation for the elimination of child labour and forced labour.
In addition to this, during the International Labour Conference, Ms Jacqueline Mugo was a panellist during this session and gave her two cents on measures that should be taken to end child labour, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Click on the link below to watch the full presentation ILO Live - World Day Against Child Labour: High-level Discussion on Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour
FKE in partnership with the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises (NHO) handles various projects that support ending child labour including the Girls and Technology Program and Adopt-A-School. For more information or inquiries on these programs, kindly click on the link below Special Projects | The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) (fke-kenya.org)
To get more information on the conference recaps and the Durban Call to Action, visit the official website https://www.5thchildlabourconf.org/en