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April 16, 2024
Community News

War against Child Labour, ILO’s ACLAWA engages Ondo Communities

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called for Implementing existing legislations, securing sufficient funding and raising awareness within communities as a crucial hurdles to overcome child labour in Nigeria.

The Project Director of the Action against Child Labor in Agriculture in West Africa (ACLAWA), under the ILO, Dr Agatha Kolawole, made the disclosure in Akure, the Ondo State Capital, on Tuesday at the inauguration workshop of the Community Action Plan Committee (CAPC)/ Community Child Labour Monitoring Committee (CCLMC) for the ACLAWA project in Ondo State.

According to her, continued efforts towards stronger enforcement, community education, and international collaboration are vital to ensuring a future where every child in Nigeria has the opportunity to thrive, free from the burden of child labour.

Kolawole said; “the ACLAWA project, funded by the US Department of Labor and implemented by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), stands as a ray of hope. It recognises the crucial role communities play in eradicating child labour and empowers them to take action.

“Through the establishment of CAP committees, we create a platform for community ownership and leadership in this fight. These committees, composed of dedicated individuals like yourselves, will serve as the driving force behind positive change.

“You will spearhead the development and implementation of community action plans, tailored to address the specific needs and challenges of your communities. You will raise awareness about child labour, advocate for improved policies and services, and monitor progress towards a child labor-free future.

“The four-day training programme you will embark on is an investment in your capacity and effectiveness. You will gain a deeper understanding of child labour, its root causes, and its harmful consequences. You will learn practical skills in community mobilization, advocacy, child protection, and referral mechanisms. You will also have the opportunity to share experiences, learn from each other, and build a strong network of support.

“I urge you, the newly formed CAP/CCLMC committees, to embrace this responsibility with dedication and passion. Remember, you are not alone in this fight. You have the backing of the ACLAWA project, the ILO, the government, and countless community members who yearn for a brighter future for their children.

“Together, let us educate communities about child labour and its dangers, advocate for policies and programmes that support children’s education, celebrate successes; and share best practices. By working hand-in-hand, we can untangle the structures that perpetuate child labour and build a future where every child can thrive, learn, and contribute to a prosperous and just society.”

Participants were drawn from labour unions, market women, farmers, security agencies, rural communities, public service, education sector amongst others.

The Ondo State Controller, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olanike Mogboruko, in her welcome remarks, said the intervention of the ILO, especially with various projects like ACCEL Africa and now, ACLAWA project has made Ondo State the envy of other states in terms of the reduction of child labour cases.

Mogboruko said; “to all organizations represented in this meeting, let us do more in working towards the elimination of child labour in Ondo State. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment as always will ever be ready to support in every way possible, work with the state government and also stakeholders towards the elimination of child labour in Ondo State.”

Speaking on the ILO ACLAWA project overview, Umar Muktar, the ILO ACLAWA National Project Officer said; “at the regional level, the ILO ACLAWA project adopted a systems-based approach that puts governmental structures, specifically the ECOWAS Commission and ECOWAS Member States, in the drivers’ seat, recognizing that they have the main responsibility to end child labour through the implementation of adequately financed policy measures addressing its root causes with the support and collaboration of other stakeholders.

“At the national level, the ILO ACLAWA project will support the effort of the Government of Nigeria to strengthen systems, increase coordination, and advocate for the necessary policies and resources to effectively combat child labour in the agriculture sector in collaboration with ILO constituents.

“At the state and community levels; the ILO ACLAWA project will support 10 cocoa farming communities in Ondo state to establish Community Action Plan (CAPs) Committees to lead community-driven interventions aimed at eliminating child labour and other related child concerns through the provision of community development grants and technical assistance.”

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