Child Rights

Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE), with financial and technical support from International Labour Organization (ILO), implemented a 5 year (2013-2017) project called Achieving Reduction of Child Labour In Support of Education (ARISE). The project was building up from another Domestic Child Labour project which was implemented in Lilongwe’s Kawale and Area 23 Chiuzira and the focus was Prevention, Protection, Withdrawal and Repatriation of domestic child labourers. The domestic child labour project was implemented using a model called Integrated Area Based Approach (IABA concept) which mainly focuses on demarcating a particular area and ensure that it is free from Child Labour after an intervention. It works through identifying all relevant community stakeholders and structures which have a bearing to the work on eradicating child labour in that area/zone. ARISE targeted 1,200 children aged 9-17 who were or at risk of entering into child labour. Furthermore, the project also referred the children to alternate social services in the established three Service Outlet Centres (SOC) - Msambo, Chiwoko and Katope (T/A Chimutu and Chiseka) in Lilongwe district. These areas were selected because of their predominance in tobacco activities which among others involves children which is against their rights. The project overall goal was to accelerate the elimination of child labour in the tobacco growing communities. The following were the objectives;
  1. Child Labour Reduction through Improvements in Education Services and Opportunities
  2. Increased Economic Empowerment and Social mobilization of Tobacco-growing Communities to combat child labour
  3. Improved regulatory framework and institutional development for the Elimination of Child Labour.

Program Results

The Action Programme (AP) managed to achieve a lot of results such as the following;
  • Enrolled and integrated 1,520 children (M: 882 F: 638) into formal and non-formal education surpassing a total number of 1,200 which was the initial project target. These children were identified through a data collection and analysis system called Child Labour Monitoring System (CLMS) from 985 households and this process was done by community volunteers called Community Child Labour Committees (CCLCs).
  • Supported children to access Complementary Basic Education (CBE) and Vocational Skills Training (Tailoring, Carpentry and Basket and Cane weaving) from the SOCs. The idea was to prepare them economically and socially so that they are able to say No! to any temptation of child labour and child marriages among others.
  • Trained Community Child Labour Committees (CCLCs) to generate data on children in child labour and child marriages or those at risk of entering into such situations. Community awareness raising, capacity building to CCLC, parents and Children, and advocacy for the formulation and re-enforcement of by-laws and reporting of cases to district structures i.e. Social Welfare, Labour Officers and Police for possible redress mechanism. They also played a role to engage communities with awareness messages on the effects of child labour and child marriages as both deny children their right to education which is against the provisions of the UN CRC.
  • Provided Complementary Basic Education (CBE) lessons to children withdrawn from worst forms of child labour in the project target areas. CBE is a three year curriculum developed by MoEST targeting children who dropped out from primary school before reaching standard 5 or have never been enrolled in school. Children both in formal and non-formal education were continuously supervised and supported with scholastic materials and periodical guidance and counselling sessions. Out of 1,520 children, a total of 1,452 children who have been enrolled into CBE and vocational skills training were integrated into formal education (Standard 6) after completing their Cycles. The CBE syllabus which we have been using during the delivery of lessons has child labour issues and topics and children who were integrated back into primary school are now able to speak out on the evils of child labour and once their rights are violated.
  • Provided start-up capital to about 65 young people who graduated from vocation skills training and attained 18+ years at the time of graduation for them to start their own group businesses in carpentry, tailoring and basket weaving and are employing their fellow 18+ years old youth
  • Referred 3 graduates (all boys) from carpentry skills training to companies for possible employment opportunities. They were referred to Terrastone and Delta Construction as a result of the skills which they gained from our SOCs
  • The project also provided Income Generating Activities to 12 adult groups (300 people) from the two T/As. These are parents/ guardians of child beneficiaries who had their capacity increased to run different income generating activities like Bakery Management, Crop and Livestock Management, Village Savings and Loans (VSL), Business Management Training (BMT) and Group dynamics sessions. The adult beneficiaries are supporting their children’s education with basic needs (exercise books, school uniforms, food and clothing) from profits realized from the IGAs which they operate. They are also monitoring performance of their children who have been enrolled into school for them not to drop out despite the phase out of the project.
  • CYECE also managed to strengthen its collaboration with government officials (MoEST and MoLYSMD) to ensure that its work of complimenting government efforts is achieved. CYECE has also been able to take part in development of CBE curriculum, child labour communication and advocacy strategy, review of National Action Plan (NAP) on child labour, incorporation of CLMS into National Child Labour Monitoring System (NCLMS) among others. In order to ensure that there is effective sustainability mechanisms at community level, CYECE has been engaging government’s Community Development Assistants (CDAs) under the Department of Community Development (DCD) for project related activities such as continuous monitoring of IGA groups after it phased out.

Focus Areas

Although CYECE has managed to achieve the above mentioned results, there still remain a lot of work that need to be done to ensure that children in Malawi live in a happy, safe and secure environment. Below are some of the gaps and needs that requires immediate intervention;
  • Scaling up the intervention to other T/As in Lilongwe who are equally affected by child labour. CYECE worked in only 2 T/As out of 18 tobacco growing T/As due to inadequate resources.
  • There is need to address all forms of child labour in other sector apart from agriculture (tobacco) i.e. fishing industry, forestry (Charcoal burning), Mining (Quarry), Domestic, Entertainment (existence of children in brothels)
  • There is need to address emerging gaps that affected the programme i.e. rolling out of school feeding programme in our SOCs, improving learning environment (Infrastructure maintenance, rehabilitation, and construction of girls’ change rooms), training formal education teachers on general child rights, gender responsive pedagogy and Case management to both teachers and community volunteers.
  • Construction of permanent Multipurpose Service Outlet Centres as the project depended on rented buildings which is not sustainable. These centres will continuously render Vocational Skills trainings and CBE for children withdrawn from child labour, child marriages and those involved in child trafficking.