Sunday, April 21, 2024
Home > Counties > Kisii County unveils committee to spearhead fight against child labour

Kisii County unveils committee to spearhead fight against child labour

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has revealed a troubling trend in global estimates of child labour where it has increased for the first time in 20 years from 152 million in 2016 to 160 million in 2020.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), 8.5 per cent of Kenya’s children (1.3 million) are in child labour especially in
the agricultural sector.

It is for this reason that Kisii County has unveiled a Child labour
committee to spearhead activities geared towards ending child labour in critical value chains in the Coffee and tea sectors in the area.

This move is in line with ILO strategy dubbed Accelerating action for
elimination of child labour in supply chains in Africa (ACCEL Africa).

Speaking during the first committee meeting in Kisii town, Kisii
South Deputy County Commissioner Ms Grace Ouma said the team will assist in designing interventions and implement the project.

Ms. Ouma noted that the multispectral committee will be in identified areas like Meru, Kirinyaga, and Kericho counties where
child labour has been found to be rampant in the tea and coffee
industries.

County Child labour Committee (CCLC) is defined as a committee
comprising of stakeholders who can contribute towards elimination of
child labour in the devolved unit through a robust work plan.

The main objective of the CCLC is to facilitate and implement the
process of elimination of child labour at the county level and its core functions are coordination, planning, resource mobilization and
implementation of projects on child labour elimination in the devolved
unit.

According to ACCEL- Africa project secretary who is also the County
Labour officer, Charles Muniko, the ILO project is in its second phase which also targets Uganda and Malawi.

Muniko explained that the project will enable Kenya to build an extensive network of participating countries in active engagement towards ending violence against children during the second phase of the project which will be launched in April this year and culminate in the year 2028.

Muniko noted that the Kenya tea industry with an export value of Sh.
143 billion in 2019 and which supports 5 million people directly and
indirectly needed to be jealously guarded from going against the international laws which could lead to diminishing gains.

He expressed optimism that the committee members drawn from state
and non-state entities will pull their efforts towards eliminating the
vice in the tea sector in which at least 650,000 small-scale farmers
depended, and the coffee sector which he termed as a major export for Kenya.

“Tea and Coffee from Kenya are included in the U.S. Department of
Labour list of goods produced with child labour, and we must reverse
the trend fast especially now that Kenya is the world’s leading exporter
of tea and third largest producer, after China and India,” Muniko
implored.

Other agricultural goods listed in the USDOL’s list from various parts
of the world include Sugarcane, cotton, tobacco, rice, cattle and fish.

In the manufacturing sector, bricks, garments, textiles, footwear and
carpets top the list while under mining or quarry industry goods, gold, coal and diamonds are included.

“We will also look into ways of incorporating soapstone mining in our
activities to ensure the industry is adhering to set regulations so that it is not enlisted among those defaulting,” Muniko announced.

Mr Eric Ongeri, the County Chief Executive Committee Member for
Youth, Sports, Culture, Arts and Special Services said the County government was ready to work with all stakeholders for the benefit of
the youth in the region.

Ongeri also cited other vices against children including drug abuse,
defilement, teenage pregnancy and FGM saying the county government will not relent in engaging stakeholders to stamp out the menace.

ACCEL Africa project’s goal is to accelerate the elimination of child
labour in Africa through targeted actions in selected supply chains
through innovative approach by strengthening the existing systems
that are geared towards eliminating the root causes.

The project’s first phase was done in 2019-2023 and proved successful in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda in the cocoa, gold, cotton, tea, and coffee supply chains.

Kenya is therefore poised to extremely benefit from successful practices established during the first phase of the project’s work on specifically coffee and tea supply chains in Uganda and Malawi.

By Jane Naitore

Leave a Reply