Rallying 'troops' to fight against child labour

May 8, 2013

Hivos’ Stop Child Labour campaign played host to child activists from 24 countries at the annual Stop Child Labour conference held from 16-19 April 2013 in Kampala, Uganda.

Under the theme, ‘Out of Work – Into School, Working Towards Child Labour Free Zones’, delegates shared thoughts and debated on how to move the campaign forward.  Outside the four walls of the conference rooms, local hosts and Hivos partners Kids In Need  and ANPPCAN Uganda organised field visits to the districts of Rakai and Wakiso, where delegates witnessed how Child Labour Free Zones (CLFZ) are being established.  Interacting with the community groups, teachers and children made the campaign and its area-based approached more tangible for many of the delegates.

The presence of high level ministers from the Ugandan government, a video message from Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, and other government representatives is seen as a sign that respective governments are taking the Stop Child Labour campaign more seriously.

“Child Labour Free Zones are emerging and the movement is growing in confidence and impact. Communities have embraced the concept and they are now demanding quality education and government ownership to sustain this process,” says Sofie Ovaa, the campaign’s international coordinator.

The culmination of the conference was the presentation of the Kampala Declaration, where participants pledged to work towards the creation of Child Labour Free Zones (CLFZ). These zones are a geographical area where all child labourers are removed from their workplaces and either integrated or reintegrated into full-time quality education.

The Hivos Stop Child Labour campaign is a joint initiative coordinated by Hivos and implemented together with partner organisations world-wide. It was initiated in 2003 with the aim of eliminating all forms of child labour and to ensure formal, full-time and quality education for all children, at least until the age of 15. The campaign calls on governments, international organisations, companies and consumers to be part of the solution.