PRCA-SA / Jege Ni Jaba II
ICCO-Cooperation and its local partners have put together and are working, on the implementation of the project 'Fighting against child labor', to raise awareness and advocate against child labor in Mali.
Recent studies on child labor in Mali show that child labor occurs in all sectors of the economy, especially in agriculture. Some children (young girls and boys) are engaged in types of work that exposes them to many dangers and risks. Children in Mali are engaged in various forms of child labor, including child soldiers in militias and dangerous activities in agriculture. Children, as young as age 5, work in agriculture seed, plow, and harvest fields as well as in livestock raising, animal traction, etc. Some of them work as domestic servants, which may require them to work long hours and perform strenuous tasks without sufficient food or shelter.
There are three main types of reasons that are used to justify child labor:
historical, economic and social.
-Historical: there is hereditary slavery in the northern part of the country. Children from these families considered under slavery by others are forced to work and families find that normal.
-Economical: child work force is an opportunity for those who use it to pay less than when using adults. As another harmful practice, some parents use their children as work force and get paid from it. If children are not working for profit outside the family, they work in household production.
-Sociological: Because of sociological reasons, some parents use their children on their own. For their common understanding this is part of children training. But unfortunately there is no limit in terms of workload. In that case girls are the most exposed.
Such ‘helping’ frequently keeps children, at least partially, out of school and it leads to high numbers of early drop-outs.
According to 2007 figures from ILO in Mali, 2 out of 3 children aged 5-17 years were in employment, and the sector of agriculture employs 57.7% of these children. Nearly 80% of these girls and boys are between 5 and 14 years old and live in both rural and urban areas.
Children are used as workers in Shea and sesame value chains as well as in the other sectors of agriculture and other forms of child labor. The products Shea and sesame are the starting point to create involvement of stakeholders. But the project will not limit itself to children working in these value chains. Once the area has been determined to create CLFZs, all working children will be included in the efforts to combat child labor.
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