Our Child Labour Free Zones
Uganda - Kids in Need (KIN)
Kids in Need (KIN) is a non-governmental organization that specializes in child labour issues. Since 1996, the program has focused on programs that build the capacity of vulnerable children to influence society’s decision making process.
Since 2008 KIN has been implementing the Child Labour Free Zone (CLFZ) programme in 3 villages: Kitubulu and Nakiwogo (Entebbe Wakiso district) and Doho Rice Scheme (Eastern Uganda Butaleja district).
KIN chose Kitubulu and Nakiwogo, where many children had become drug addicts as a result of child labour and Doho Rice Scheme, where many children had become employees of the rice scheme instead of going to school.
Key elements of the CLFZ concept in Uganda
Coverage of programme
The coverage of the programme in both rural and urban areas shows an acknowledgement that child labour affects both urban and rural children and should be abolished in both areas. Targeting both areas and adapting the programme to the different needs and environments of the locations, has widened the reach and impact of the CLFZ programme in Uganda.
Formation of community monitoring engines
Different members of the community - including teachers, employers, local leaders, religious leaders and parents - make a Child Labour Free Zone-committee. Committee members are trained and their capacity strengthened to enable them address and handle cases of child abuse in the community. They closely monitor the area to see that no more children are engaged in child labour. The committee and the youth activists (as role models) have played a crucial role in identifying working children and preventing others from joining the work force.
KIN embarked on community conversations, an innovative approach of community mobilisation and dialogue on child labour issues within the community. They have contributed to increased awareness about child labour and have changed norms about child labour in the pilot project areas.
Income generating programmes and Village Savings and Loans Associations groups
Another one of KIN’s key child labour strategies include the creation of saving groups and the empowering of parents or guardians through income generating activities and the provision of inputs in kind to extremely poor families. The programme was intended to assist adults to generate income and set up saving schemes from which they may borrow to meet household livelihood needs.
This enabled the vulnerable households to save and acquire loans from the groups or to expand their small businesses. This is one of the successful sustainable measures that have helped parents to keep children in school without external support. Many parents who are part of the saving groups now believe that poverty is not an excuse for keeping children out of school.
Advocacy among employers
KIN’s advocacy against the employment of children and the improvement of working conditions for adults, has also led to children being released back into school and the employers themselves becoming the champions of the drive to eliminate child labour at the places of work. This has created opportunities for the employment of adults, thereby increasing household income.
Enhancement of community by-laws
The CLFZ- committee members in Kitubulu have developed by-laws that are aimed at preventing child labour. The by-law in Kitubulu closes down any person’s business if they are caught employing on a child who was withdrawn from child labour. This by-law is yet to be included in the village laws.
Supporting child rights through Education, Art and the Media (SCREAM)
To prevent children from dropping out of school, KIN introduced and trained both children and teachers in SCREAM methodology: it encourages children’s participation in different fields. SCREAM has contributed to increased school enrolment and empowered the children and the youths to become change agents in fighting child labour. In a primary school in Kitubulu, SCREAM contributed to increased school enrolment from about 300 to 560 in only one term.
Provision of scholastic materials
KIN realises that the free education policy in Uganda only goes as far as encouraging school enrolment but not the retention of children in school. The reason is that the free education policy covers school fee waivers only and learning materials whose costs parents find prohibitive. KIN is therefore providing scholastic materials for children from vulnerable households within the CLFZ. Such an approach therefore illustrates the need for government to take a holistic approach to the free education policy.
Life skills and vocational training programme
To address the exploitation of older children who are out of school, KIN has initiated the life skills and vocational training programme to equip them with the tools and skills to engage in productive employment opportunities. This programme targets children above the minimum age of employment while the rest are reintegrated back into schools to complete their primary education.