Data collection on child labour still a challenge in Africa: SADC

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Malawi Labour Minister and Southern African Development Community (SADC) chair on labour, Vera Kamtukule says child labour in Africa has been synced with customs and traditions.

She says children are expected to work because they are following in their parents’ footsteps in a particular trade.

Kamtukule is part of the delegates at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, at the ICC in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

She says the collection of data in the continent is also not effective and only Eswatini has the latest statistics.

Kamtukule says many factors make it difficult to collect data in Africa but called on the leaders to ensure that child labour is on the agenda of their high-level meetings.

Kamtukule, says education is needed to teach communities to be able to detect child labour practices.

“The nature of child labour and how it goes within the region coincides or is synced with issues of cultural norms, of how we do things. And that makes it a bit difficult for us to collect data regarding child labour, so our code of conduct is advocating collection of data on the regular.”

Various issues are being discussed at the conference:

UNICEF Executive Director, Catherine Russell, says child labour can be eradicated around the world.

“We need to build a strong child protection workforce to partner with the business community to eliminate child labour at every link of the supply chain and we need to bridge the gap with increased balanced systems to curb child labour in its all forms. We must never accept child labour as inedible. We have the power to change it. I look forward to working together to ensure that every child everywhere has a childhood.”

Zimbabwe Labour  Minister, Paul Mavima, says his government has implemented measures that seek to end child labour.

“My government has increased social protection coverage to vulnerable households in the area of education. The number of children supported by the basic education assisted model has increased from 450 000 in the year 2020 to 1 million in 2021 and is expected to reach  one and half million in 2022.”

Delegates at the conference have called on governments to step up efforts to eliminate child labour and meet the 2025 target.