PRCA-SA / Jege Ni Jaba II
In Mali, parents (ab)use children for the collection of shea nuts and work in the field. These young children walk long distances (3-5 km) very early in the morning, exposed to many dangers and risks. This program aims to eliminate all forms of child labor and education with help of all stakeholders in the value chain of selected agricultural products in Koulikoro and Segou regions of Mali.
Recent studies on child labor in Mali show that child labor occurs in all sectors of the economy, especially in agriculture, 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 and animal traction. 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:
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 resign themselves.
Child work force is an opportunity to replace adults with children to pay less. As another harmful practice, some parents use their children as work force and get pay from it. If children do not work for profit outside the family, they work in household production.
Because of sociological reasons, some parents use their children for their own. For their common understanding this is part of children raising. 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.
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 child labor free zones all working children will be included in the efforts to combat child labor.
ICCO Cooperation and its local partners work on the implementation of this project (Fighting against child labor) to raise awareness and advocate against child labor in Mali.
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