“Health crisis has had a significant impact”

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A tea field in northern Rwanda in November 2020.

The Covid-19 epidemic marked a major breakthrough in the early 2000’s to eradicate child labor, particularly in Africa. The International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) believe that the consequences of the health crisis are likely “Push” Again “9 million children will be working by 2022” In this world.

In sub-Saharan Africa, population growth, multiple economic and security crises, extreme poverty and inadequate social security have forced an additional 16.6 million children into child labor since 2016, according to statistics. United Nations.

Hani Mansurian, co-ordinator of the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (Alliance CPHA) for UNICEF, explained the challenges facing African children in managing their future disasters.

Why is child labor on the rise in Africa, even though it is declining in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East?

Hani Mansurian The first reason seems to be population growth, which continues to accelerate across the continent. Many governments do not have the resources to ensure adequate social security for families to prevent child labor. Access to education creates a problem, although it is an effective preventative factor. On the African continent, one in four children between the ages of 5 and 11 is out of school. Among the oldest, it is one in three children. However, there is a direct correlation between dropping out of school and working among children. The health crisis has had a significant impact on this phenomenon.

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We predicted in early 2020 that the school closure campaign would be taken more seriously. Nine months off school in Kenya where I live! This decision was based on public health considerations, but did not necessarily take into account other outcomes. Many children dropped out and never returned to school. The Covid-19 epidemic has also exacerbated poverty, especially among the most vulnerable who have lost their jobs or sources of income, especially due to market closures.

How is child labor implemented and which sectors are most affected?

In sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture, and especially subsistence agriculture, is responsible for 82% of child labor, compared to 71% worldwide. The agricultural sector itself is not considered hazardous, but its limitations (exemptions, poor working conditions, etc.) classify it.

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About 57% of working children in sub-Saharan Africa are boys, but we know that girls are sexually exploited or even enslaved: traffickers snatch them cheaply from their communities and take them across borders.

What are the long-term economic and social consequences of this phenomenon?

Child labor is closely linked to poverty. By working to help meet the needs of the family, a child is more likely to be out of school and never find a well-paying job in the future. This cycle is even more difficult to break because an adult who worked on his own in childhood is more likely to trivialize the situation. As child labor becomes more widespread, it becomes a social norm.

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This applies to families but also to society: communities are less inclined to fight this phenomenon, and governments are less inclined to regulate. If states try to legislate, they must face employers who benefit from the low cost of child labor and have become accustomed to it. Moreover, when it comes to inter-family farming environment, children work for free.

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