Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Malawi Limited, International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Winrock International have embarked on a five-year project to eradicate child labour in tobacco growing areas.
The K2.8 billion ($4 million) project, called Achieving Reduction of Child Labour in Support of Education (Arise) being implemented in Dowa, Lilongwe and Ntcheu districts by Winrock International, ILO, Circle for Integrated Community Development and government, is financed by JTI Malawi.
“Though we are into tobacco business, we do not condone child labour in tobacco growing areas. That is the reason we partnered with one of the UN agencies, ILO; and also Winrock International to fight and eventually eradicate child labour,” said JTI Malawi regulatory affairs and engagement manager Harold Msusa in an interview on Wednesday.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a site visit in Ntcheu where the Arise project is also being implemented.
Among others, the Arise project withdraws children from child labour, especially in tobacco farms and incorporate them in schools or provide training in life skills.
Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development Principal Secretary Patrick Kabambe said child labour is a complex problem that requires collective efforts to overcome.
In his remarks, ILO chief technical adviser Wangu Irumn said provision of education is key towards winning the fight against child labour.
“It is important that communities send their children to schools. Only then can we make progress in eradicating child labour,” said Irumn.
On the other hand, Winrock International programme director Daliso Baloyi said there is need to improve the legal framework and frequent inspection to assess progress. n