• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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World Day Against Child Labour: Stakeholders organises road walk, engages children in Ondo

World Day Against Child Labour: Stakeholders organises road walk, engages children in Ondo

Stakeholders have organized a road walk and children’s engagement for the residents of Ondo state towards eradicating the actions among the cocoa farmers in the state.

Olawale Awoyemi, the Deputy Chief of Party, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) for the Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystems of Nigeria (TRACE) and Child Labour Education and Resilience (CLEAR) projects, who spoke with journalists during the road walk and children engagement in Akure, said it had became imperatives to shun child labour in the country.

Awoyemi explained that the essence of the programme was to create awareness and campaign towards ending child labour in the cocoa communities of Ondo state.

According to Awoyemi, child labour has been an international concern because it damages, spoils and destroys the future of children in society.

He said; “for this year 2024 World Day against child labour, we as an organization, Lutheran World Relief, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), support Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystems of Nigeria (TRACE) which is the TRACE project, means to improve the productivity of the cocoa farmers by using the climate and agricultural techniques and also to promoting cocoa traceability in buyer and seller relationship.

“While we are also working on a project, which is called; Child Labour Education and Resilience (CLEAR), funded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with these two organisations supporting Lutheran World Relief, we are committed to supporting the elimination of child labour and its negative impacts on the cocoa growing communities to ensure that farmers are no longer using under-aged children and also not to exposing them to the hazardous task which could have side effects on their education and negative effects on their health.

“So, what we are doing today is to come together with other critical stakeholders to create awareness and campaign in the community towards the eradication of child labour. For us as a project, we have been able to do this sensitization in Idanre and Ifedore local government areas of Ondo state and we have been able to create awareness among parents, teachers and community leaders towards supporting the children’s rights, through education.

“So what we are saying is that we want to act together towards ending child labour in the cocoa communities and by extension working with private sectors who are cocoa traders to ensure that their activities are free child labour and by extension this will help to improve the living standards of the cocoa farmers as they continue to improve their productivity, make more money towards providing the amenities and improve the well-being of their children and that will help them to stabilize their children in school.

“By extension, we hope that the donor’s support from the U.S government and also the activities that Lutheran World Relief is doing is not limited alone to Ondo state, we also operate in other five states; Ekiti, Osun, Akwa-Ibom, Cross Rivers and Abia, to create awareness towards the elimination of child labour. We hope that all that we are doing will help the larger communities to make a commitment and to act towards the elimination of child labour in our society.

“We want the state government and the entire communities to implement the existing state action plan towards the elimination of child labour. So, this year World Day against child labour under the theme; “Let’s act on our commitments: End Child Labour”, realized the importance to take continuous and effective actions towards the elimination of child labour in Ondo state.”

Awoyemi, while in his goodwill message during the children’s engagement programme said; “part of what we are doing, using the Child Labour Education and Resilience (CLEAR) project is to ensure that we have vocational school clubs in the school in order to help the children to continue to go to school and also to improve their skills for them to have a bright future.”

He, however, warned parents in the state to desist from exposing the under-aged children to hazardous tasks on the farm and not to engage the children during the school hours in order for them to complete their educationengagetoyinbo, Ogunlade Aladi, the Deji oforChairman of, the Council of Traditional Rulers in Ondo state, who also received the campaign team in his palace said; “we just have to work together on how to eradicate these actions and I will tell all my chiefs that if they heard anybody hiring minors they should report it to us so that we can report it to adequate authorities.

“I will extend our concerns to the state governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa to do something on this, our schools must be operating very well to end child labour in our society. All hands must be on deck to curb these actions, there must be a penalty for those involved in child labour.

The monarch, however, said the traditional rulers in the state are 100 per cent in support of ending child labour.

Olanike Mogboruko, the Ondo state Controller of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, in her welcome address during the maiden edition of the children’s engagement programme held at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), said there was an urgent need for the enforcement of legal provisions for the elimination of child labour in Ondo state and Nigeria at large.

Mogboruko said; “we must strengthen our efforts and collaborate across all sectors to create sustainable solutions. Governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals all have a role to play in building a future where no child is forced to work at the expense of their well-being and development.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the ILO ACLAWA Project team led by Dr Agatha Kolawole, the Lutheran World Relief, Save the Children, the SSCCL, Children from the project communities, students from schools in Ondo State, other critical stakeholders present and all of you present here today.

“Together, we can amplify our impact and drive meaningful change. I also want to acknowledge the tireless efforts of organizations, activists, and community leaders who work relentlessly on the front lines, often in challenging circumstances, to protect and uplift vulnerable children.”

Agatha Kolawole, Project Director of the Action against Child Labour in Agriculture in West Africa (ACLAWA), under the ILO, in her remarks said the essence of the road walk and children engagement was to raise awareness about child labour, advocate for improved policies and services, and monitor progress towards a child labour-free future.

BusinessDay reports that the two-day programmes, road walk and children engagement on the elimination of child labour, held at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and implemented by the Lutheran World Relief (LWR) in partnership with the Ondo State Government, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and International Labour Organization (ILO).

The participants were drawn from rural communities, farmers, public service, the education sector and students of L. A Primary school, Ajebamidele, Community primary school Molete Igbaraoke, Ikota secondary school, Ayo grammar school, Ipogun, Alasagba community primary school, Ibuji, L.A primary, Gbalegi, L.A primary school, Ita-Oloorun, Olofin Anglican Grammar School, Ala-Elefosan Community High School Idanre, Onisere Community High School, Ofosu-Idanre, all in Ifedore and Idanre local government areas of Ondo state.