Every child has a fundamental human right to education, nutritious food and health. All these rights are violated when a child is forced to work. The situation is further exacerbated when the tasks that he or she is entrusted with affect his or her health. This is the case for instance when children carry excessive weights or work in confined spaces, smoky conditions or with chemicals. But also when it is affecting their right to education.
Despite decades of governmental and corporate commitments, child labour remains widespread. This is due to the fact that child labour is a visible symptom of the disease: it cannot be eradicated without a systemic tackling of the root causes like, for example, poverty, education, registration, infrastructure and political good will.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES THIS MEAN IN THE FIELD?
In order to break this vicious cycle, FarmStrong works with people in rural communities on the identification of these bottlenecks. It all starts with:
The first step requires the identification and understanding of the root causes that impact children’s safety, health and well-being, leading to tailored community-based child protection systems (CCPS). FarmStrong works closely with each community in which it operates to better understand these deep-rooted causes.
After the identification of root causes, through situation analysis, which can differ between communities, FarmStrong develops a community-based set of actions that reduce the address the root causes of child labour. Poverty is one of the greatest threats to children’s rights, so what needs to be done to change that situation:
Given the unique role of women in the social dynamics of rural communities and as lead role and catalyst of community health, education and well-being, FarmStrong ensures women are the central components in rural development and the protection of children. Women’s economic empowerment is key to poverty alleviation, and it is essential to address the causes of gender inequality for these activities to be effective.
Improve Health and Nutrition
Health and wealth are closely linked with diseases like malaria responsible for high percentage of work and school absenteeism (teachers and pupils alike) in Côte d’Ivoire. Farmstrong has experience with malaria research programs and understands the impact on people and their productivity. But also, FarmStrong is helping to take action against the unbalanced diets children and adults eat through the setting up of education programmes which provide nutritious vegetables.
By supplementing diets, the women-led micro-businesses focused on horticultural production will have a positive effect in increasing school participation and fostering learning. FarmStrong looks for solutions to water issues in villages where access to water is limited, helping to provide clean water to community members and children, but also freeing up women’s time for other activities. Instead of fetching water they can grow vegetables or rear small animals and look after their children.
Improve Access to Education
FarmStrong looks at overcoming administrative barriers such as a birth certificate. The best child protection is family driven withing the communities.
Efforts to protect children and improve their well-being will be futile until farmer and rural communities as a whole are able to work together towards a shared and envisioned future.