Thursday, January 29, 2009

my speech at handover ceremony of equipment from ILO on 23/09/08

SPEECH BY THE DEPUTY SECRETARY FOR LABOUR MS EUNICE CHIPANGULA ON THE OFFICIAL HAND OVER CEREMONY OF COMPUTERS FROM ILO/IPEC

23/09/2008 AT GOLF CLUB , LILONGWE

- The chief Technical Advisor of ILO/IPEC Mrs Mirriam Gachago
- The Consultants
- Facilitators
- Union members
- Employers
- Ladies and Gentlemen


1. I feel greatly honored this morning to stand before you as guest of honor during which the Ministry of Labour is receiving equipment to be used for data capturing on child labour for from ILO/IPEC. Apart from receiving the equipment, the Ministry is also happy that training for officers on child labour database management is to be conducted during these two days to better equip those involved.

2. Ladies and Gentlemen, the equipment we are receiving today which is in the form of computers as well as the training will help in capacity building efforts to enable government achieve its goal of eliminating child labour in Malawi. In view of the technological trends world over, we need to move with times in our operations especially in the area of records management in child labour matters, since we are dealing with matters of children who are tomorrows leaders.

3. As you may be aware, ILO/IPEC and the Ministry of Labour have been working on establishing a National child labour database since June 2008. A consultant was hired and has carried out consultations with stakeholders and worked closely with the Child Labour Unit and the Statistics Section in the Ministry. I understand the database is now ready and there is need to install it at the Ministry headquarters and at the three Regional Offices. This donation I understand is for that purpose.

4. Ladies and gentlemen, the importance of these computers therefore cannot be overemphasized taking into consideration that they will be used to store child labour data captured in the field from Youth monitors, child labour community monitors and child labour inspectors. This will therefore act as baseline information that will assist the Ministry in coming up with right policies and strategies for follow ups, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of child labour projects from a well informed point of view.


5. The equipment therefore has just come at the right time since the information it will store will not only be useful to government alone, but also employers and workers organizations, NGOs , Faith Based Organisations, the media and research institutions working in one way or the other towards eliminating the worst forms of child labour.

6. Ladies and Gentlemen, It is important that while communities are taking a leading role in child labour elimination efforts at grassroots level, we as government and cooperating partners work together in supporting their efforts so that they are encouraged to continue monitoring and reporting child labour cases. Having the right information in store is very important for monitoring trends and helps to plan activities and come up with strategies that address the issues on the ground accordingly and appropriately. In addition, all those involved in child labour will have a better understanding and be able to reason if right and up to date information is provided so that the battle against exploitation of children is well fought.

7. Ladies and Gentlemen for the success of this initiative we will therefore count on the efficiency and effectiveness of database administrators, and above all, the sources of the information to be collected.

8. The attitude of Government to the needs and rights of children is decisive to the protection and promotion of children’s welfare. Ladies and gentlemen, national economies, which rely on working children who do not attend school, place themselves in a vicious cycle of perpetual poverty. Without an education their children miss out on knowledge and skills that are required for better and rewarding jobs. Child labour undermines the potential source of protection of families and communities by breeding generations and generations of poor people.

9. The Malawi Republican constitution Chapter IV protects the child from economic exploitation or any treatment of work or punishment that is likely to be hazardous, interfere with education or harmful to their health, physical, mental, spiritual or social development while the Employment Act of 2000 prohibits the employment of any child below the age of 14 and also prohibits children between the ages 14-18 to be employed in hazardous work which is harmful to the health, safety and moral development.

10. Ladies and Gentlemen the decentralization policy has made it possible that most development programmes be done at district level. Child labour is violation of child rights. As children work, they have no access to education. They are denied other rights vital to the experience of childhood. They are exposed to physical and sexual abuse and violence. Efforts should be made to mainstream child labour elimination activities in our District Implementation Plans focusing on advocacy, capacity building, policy development and coordination.

11. Since ILO-IPEC started implementing its programmes in Malawi, what has been gained? Direct support provided, including uniforms has enabled children from poor families to attend school. It has addressed the root cause of child labour, which is poverty. With commitment of involved partners, a considerable reduction of employed children has been achieved within a few years.

12. Today we live in an excellent enabling environment in terms of top-level political support to the fight against child labour. The government, under His Excellency, the State President, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, is committed to forging partnerships with employers, workers organizations, as well as with other institutions and groups that share the goal of abolishing Child Labour. The Government clearly advocates that the key to solving these issues lies in the alliance among workers, business people, NGOs and Civic Society groups. No one group working alone can achieve the necessary impact.

13. Ladies and Gentlemen, join me in thanking ILO-IPEC Malawi office for the 4 computers that have been donated to the Ministry. Government appreciates the technical and financial support you give to the Ministry for the various activities being implemented focusing on institutional framework, enforcement, advocacy, prevention and rehabilitation in the fight against child labour. The chief Technical Advisor for ILO IPEC, be assured that these computers will do the work that they are intended for.

14. With these few remarks, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much for your attention.

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