ILO official calls for mindset change to fight child labour


Young Turkana girls hawking charcoal in Kakuma, Turkana West. PHOTO: GREG AKALL

Young Turkana girls hawking charcoal in Kakuma, Turkana West. PHOTO: GREG AKALL


THE national coordinator for the International Programme on Elimination of Child Labour in the country Mr Bernard Kiura has called on Kenyans to fight against child labour. Speaking during a two-day school management committees’ training workshop to fight child labour in Lodwar, Mr Kiura said the wrong attitude towards the fight against child labour had hindered the success of the campaign. “As long as parents continue to look at policymakers and other stakeholders fighting for child protection as enemies, we shall not achieve much in the fight against child labour,” said Mr Kiura. The main challenge, he said, is not resources but wrong attitude against the vice. A heated debate ensued during the workshop over utterances by some parents that some of their children cannot go to school and should be left at home to help parents graze the livestock. “If I have four children, three will go to school but one must remain at home to help me take care of the livestock,” one parent said. “It is not the responsibility of the child to look after livestock when they should be in school,” said Turkana Central deputy commissioner Mr Meshack Mwangi. Mr Kiura acknowledged that the practice of denying some children access to education was rampant and called on all stakeholders to change their attitude for the benefit of the children.

Promote education

He said tackling child labour and the international efforts to promote education for all were closely related. Statistics indicate that there are 153 million child labourers aged between five and 14 years. The international community has a target of achieving basic education for all children by 2015.

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