Our Child Labour Free Zones
Uganda - Kids in Need (KIN), ANPPCAN and UNATU
In Uganda, three organizations are working hard in establishing Child Labour Free zones in different parts of the country: Kids in Need (KIN), ANPPCAN and UNATU.
1) Kids in Need (KIN)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2) African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN)
ANPPCAN is a Pan-African organization with country chapters in 24 African countries and a regional office based in Nairobi Kenya. ANPPCAN Uganda Chapter was launched in 1992 and registered in 1995 as a local national, child protection non-profit agency. The organization has over the last 20 years competently delivered direct and indirect preventive and corrective interventions countrywide through a network of district branches and field offices located in all the major regions of Uganda. In March 2013, the organization became part of the Stop Child Labour coalition in Uganda together with KIN and UNATU. It received funding through the Omar's Dream project that implements an area based approach towards the creation of Child Labour Free Zones (CLFZ) in two parishes of Nakatoogo and Mitukula in Rakai district.
The project targets 1,600 direct child beneficiaries (children withdrawn from child labour and children being prevented from child labour) and a total of 20,000 secondary target groups including; teachers, school management committees, local leaders, families, policy makers, employers, civil society organizations, government structures and the general public who benefited from awareness raising, capacity building, media and policy advocacy components of the project.The project’s purpose is to contribute to elimination of child labour in Uganda through the creation of child labour free zones in Rakai district. This project shares the belief with Stop Child Labour and Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiya (MV) Foundations, that elimination of child labour and universal education does not have to wait for poverty eradication but instead can be achieved in the short to medium run if all actors work together on the principle that ‘no child should work; every child must be in school'.
Also read the news article and see the film of the marathon 'Running to support Child Labour Free Zone' organized by ANPPCAN in the Rakai District.
3) Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU)
UNATU is implementing an intervention that is intended to support policy advocacy and guidance to key actors in adopting the Child Labour Free Zones in Uganda. UNATU, with technical and financial support from the Stop Child Labour Campaign- HIVOS and other partners worldwide, is working closely with the other two implementing partners in Uganda- Kids In Need (KIN) and the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN).
UNATU focuses on the area of advocacy, particularly on creating awareness and mobilizing all actors concerned to stop child labour; advocating for improved public education; lobbying for more effective policy practices and advocating for adoption of the Child Labour Free Zones approach in the districts of Wakiso and Rakai and at National level.