The Mozambican government will benefit, over the next three years, from grants of 1.2 million US dollars to strengthen the fight against the worst forms of child labour, particular in the areas where tobacco is grown.
To this end, the Ministry of Labour and the End Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation (ECLT) signed in Maputo on Wednesday a memorandum of understanding to create a platform of interaction to strengthen the rights of children, particularly those in situations of poverty and vulnerability.
Labour Minister Vitoria Diogo told the signing ceremony that the memorandum is a response to the government's concern at the scenario of thousands of children involved in the worst forms of child labour in Mozambique, endangering their healthy development.
The government was therefore seeking "partnerships nationally and internationally so that we can put into practice measures that will restrict the worst forms of child labour".
She noted that, across the globe, about 68 million children are involved n work regarded as dangerous, and it is the responsibility of governments and their partners to take measures ensuring that children grow up, are educated and work in a healthy environment so that they become citizens useful to society.
"It is important to bear in mind that children are not banned from working, but it has to be work appropriate for their age", she said. "They must work in preparation for becoming useful citizens, they must work but continue to be children".
Parents and guardians, Diogo added, should consider that children must go to school. They can help their parents, but must also have time to play and to be children
It is hoped that implementation of the memorandum will lead to mass publicity for the first government approved list of jobs dangerous for children.
The ECLT Executive Director, David Hammond, said his organisation is attempting to eliminate child labour in the tobacco growing areas. ECLT has been working in Mozambique for over ten years, trying to eradicate child labour in the western province of Tete.
"We want children in these areas to have access to education and to everything else that other children do", he said.
The National Director of Labour, Isabel Mate, explained that the project will cover such areas as community education and training, awareness and communication, institutional capacity building and revising the legal framework.
"Through this project, we want to implement professional training programmes to benefit the households affected by the worst forms of child labour, particularly those involved in tobacco growing, so as to guarantee funds and alternative sources of income", she said.
Mate added that influential members of the community and other authorities will be trained in questions of child labour and awareness-raising messages will be broadcast on the community radios in Portuguese and in local languages.
Within ten days the two parties to the memorandum will set up technical teams to draw up a plan to put the memorandum into operation.
According to a study undertaken by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), in 2017 there were about 1.4 million children involved in child labour in Mozambique.
Child labour is at its worst in informal mining, the carrying of heavy goods, commercial agriculture, particularly in the cotton and tobacco fields, informal trade, fisheries, and sexual exploitation.
Published on All Africa on June 28, 2018
By Helene Christensen
“We are equal to boys and can also contribute to society,” said 17-year-old Lidia Suale Saide. Lidia knows what it means to stand up for these beliefs. One year ago, she refused her mother’s attempt to marry her off. She said she wanted to become a doctor instead.
“I want to become independent and free of the harms and expectations placed on girls in my community,” she told UNFPA recently.
But many girls in Mozambique are not able to avoid marriage. Child marriage is widespread in the country, with 48 per cent of women aged 20-24 reporting they were married before reaching age 18.
Child marriage often pushes girls from school, and it leaves them vulnerable to abuse and early pregnancies, which can cause lasting harm or even death.
Child marriage and teen pregnancies are closely linked: In Mozambique, some 46 per cent of girls aged 15-19 are either pregnant or already mothers, according to 2015 data.
But Lidia is helping to change these trends.
She is now a mentor in Raparinga Biz, a UNFPA-supported programme that has mobilized tens of thousands of adolescent girls to learn about their sexual and reproductive health and human rights, as well as about citizenship and life skills.
This knowledge is helping girls advocate for themselves and each other: Within the programme’s first year, only 1 per cent of the 23,500 adolescent girls involved were married before turning 18.
Tackling gender inequality, violence
Raparinga Biz, which translates to “Busy Girl,” was launched in May 2016. It has so far reached 94,000 girls and young women. Over 2,300 girls have been trained as mentors.
The programme directly takes on one of the root causes of child marriage and teen pregnancy: gender inequality. Girls discuss the importance of equality, empowerment and human rights.
“Our society is portraying girls and women as inferior, and it is influencing our confidence and value,” said 16-year-old Assma Cassam Ismali, one of the programme’s young mentors. “As a mentor I want to support girls to value themselves.”
Too often, gender inequality takes the form of violence against women and girls. Even school can be an unsafe environment. Seven in 10 girls in Mozambique know of cases of sexual harassment and abuse in their schools, a 2013 UN report indicated.
“My teacher has been harassing me for a year,” Maria* told UNFPA. “One time he forced a sexual relation with me in a classroom. I feel ashamed and blame myself. He is HIV positive, and I fear what more can happen.”
Maria is another of the new mentors trained under Rapariga Biz. She spoke about her experience during a mentors’ training session on human rights.
She wants to help other girls stand up for themselves and their rights, and to help girls seek justice if abuses do occur.
Former child bride advocates change
The resilience of mentors like Maria and Lidia is one of the programme’s strengths. Mentors are able to draw from their own experiences, as well as their training, when educating and advising other girls.
Lucia*, from Angoche District in Nampula Province, was pressured by her family to become the wife of a man who was already married. As an orphan, Lucia had little support in opposing the marriage. She ultimately married him against her wishes.
She was miserable, and after much negotiation with her extended family, she managed to leave the marriage.
Today, she focuses on her studies and advocates for change as a Raparinga Biz mentor.
“I want to inspire girls to marry out of love and choice,” she said. “We cannot be obliged to marry against our will. I hope my story can inspire adolescent girls in my community to choose who to marry at the right time.”
Raparinga Biz is led by the Government of Mozambique, with technical support from UNFPA, UNICEF, UNESCO and UN WOMEN. The programme receives funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, along with a contribution from the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage.
It aims to reach 1 million girls and young women by 2020.
Published on UNFPA on February 15, 2018
About 40 participants from Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania Mainland, Uganda, Zambia and Zanzibar gathered in Dar Es Salaam this week to pilot the use of the recently released GPE/UNGEI Guidance for developing gender-responsive education sector plans.
The workshop offered the first opportunity to use the guidance, which offers a step-by-step approach to help introduce gender dimensions in sector plans. According to UNESCO GEMR, more than one-third of countries around the world are still to achieve gender parity in primary education. Worldwide, 15 million girls currently out of school are expected never to enroll.
Facilitators guided participants in understanding the key terminology about gender, recognizing what constitutes an enabling environment, collecting and analyzing the relevant data, and defining goals, strategies and activities, and monitoring and evaluation frameworks to ensure that all girls and boys can equally participate and succeed in the education system.
The participants included representatives from education, health and gender-focused ministries, development partners, and civil society organizations.
All participating countries have already made progress in tackling gender inequities in education, whether through passing new laws, adopting policies, making reforms, or training and deploying teachers. The workshop has allowed participants to access innovative tools, which they will further use in their own countries’ local education groups to continue to advocate for gender equality in education.
It’s an essential task, because achieving SDG 4 depends on it.
Published on Partnership for Education's website on March 31, 2017.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the rights that must be realized for children to develop their full potential, free from hunger and want, neglect and abuse. It reflects a new vision of the child. Children are neither the property of their parents nor are they helpless objects of charity. They are human beings and are the subject of their own rights. The Convention offers a vision of the child as an individual and as a member of a family and community, with rights and responsibilities appropriate to his or her age and stage of development. By recognizing children's rights in this way, the Convention firmly sets the focus on the whole child.