Child labour, an ongoing challenge for Tanzanians

By Loveness J. Tendwa

ILO Convention No.138 refers to child labour as employment below the minimum age of 15 and it estimates that 215 million children under 18 work full-time around the world.

Children are denied the right to education when they are forced into the worst forms of labour, especially sexual exploitation, child trafficking, heavy manual work in mining areas and agricultural plantations. According to UNICEF in 2011, 90% of children involved in domestic labour are girls.

In Sub–Saharan Africa, which includes developing countries like Tanzania, 1 among every 4 children aged 5-17 work compared to other countries like Latin America, where 1 among every 10 children are engaged with work.

UNICEF 2010 estimated 20.7% of children in Tanzania involved in child labour which dropped compared to 2001 where National Bureau of Statistics estimated that 35.4% of children involved in child labour.

According to the Tanzania Legal and Human Right’s Centre 2012 Human Rights Report, child labour in Tanzania is facilitated by a number of reasons, including: poverty among families, family separation and pastoral communities which move from one place to another in search for water and pasture. These reasons force children to drop out of school and become subjected to enforced labour, often times out of necessity.

The constitution and laws of Tanzania state that, “employing child below 14 is an offence and employing any person below 18 years in an environment that will endanger the life of the child or affect the upbringing of the child is also an offence.”

The Employment and Labour Relations Act of 2004 gives power to the resident magistrate or district courts to impose punishment of 1 year imprisonment or fines of up to 5 millions Tshs (Tanzanian Shillings) for any person found guilty under the Act. Child labour is also prohibited under the law of the Child Act of 2009.

Mr. Sadallah, a school teacher of Kimanga Primary School in Llala says that child labour is mainly caused by poor family environments and family separation, which is more likely to lead children to drop out of school. He added that one of his pupils dropped out of school right before she was about to sit for her Standard 7 examination this year, but they found out that she would instead work as a barmaid in the street. Mr. Sadallah calls for action from parents and village management to help to overcome these issues in the country.

“The impact of child labour is on children themselves, since they [are] denied [the] right to education, which ultimately creates a poor nation as children will not have anything to rely on in their life,” said Mama Juma, a food vendor in Gongo la Mboto.

“The main problem is the implementation of laws and polices which are set by government on children, which give power to employers and parents to continue to let children work while is not acceptable,” said Hafswa Madiwa, a student from the University of Dar es Salaam.

UNICEF and the government work to change the cultural acceptance surrounding child labour among families in Tanzania, and support strategies and programming designed to provide income to families in order for them to access nurseries, quality education and protective services for their children.

The Tanzanian government has set a Basic Education Master Plan that aims to achieve universal access to basic education for children over the age of 7 years and ensures that at least 80% of children complete primary education. Despite these initiatives, problems for Tanzanian children continue to exist and child labour is only one among them.

Loveness is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Journalism at St. Augustine University of Tanzania. She is interested in both broadcast and print media. In her leisure time, she loves to watch Korean dramas and listen to slow music.

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One comment

  1. […] Child labour, an ongo­ing chal­lenge for Tanzanians […]

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