The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is partnering ECOWAS and the media on the acceleration of action for the elimination of child labour.
To this end, a five-Day training Workshop for journalists and stakeholders held between the 16th and 20th of November, 2020 in Abuja Nigeria.
Organized in collaboration with the Nigerian Ministry of labour and employment, the Workshop aims among others, to establish a strong link between media personnel at the states’ implementing partners, and that Media professionals have a better understanding of the main concepts and conventions on child labour.
The activity was also meant to strengthen the capacity of media to improve on the quality and quantity of their reports on child labour cases which promote positive behavioural change while reskilling on investigative reporting and the application of solutions journalism.
Welcoming participants to the workshop, the Officer in charge of the ILO Country Office, for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mr. David Kwabla Dorkenoo stated that the training was both timely and strategically relevant given the societal benefits from effective child labour reportage as well as implementation of the national Social Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) strategy on the elimination of child labour in Nigeria.
More worrisome, he noted, was the increasing number of children engaged in child labour in Africa, despite a reduction in the global participation rate. Citing verifiable data, he disclosed that there 152 million currently engaged in child labour globally, 73 million of whom are in hazardous work.
“Africa contributes a significant 19.6% to this statistics – the highest of any region worldwide. Putting into context, recent research demonstrates that over 2 million children worked in the cocoa sector across West Africa in 2019. These numbers undoubtedly are detrimental to the development of Africa’s young population and poses a substantial risk to the promotion of social justice in the region as a whole” Mr. Dorkenoo added.
The workshop featured presentations of relevant modules on child labour eradication and the role of the media by Professor Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika. The presentations followed an earlier intervention bordering on an overview of the state of play of Child Labour/Protection and general practice landscape by the National Project Coordinator of the ILO’s ACCEL Africa project Mrs. Agatha Kolawole.
There were also goodwill messages from stakeholders and supporting partners including the government of Nigeria and The Netherlands which also gave perspectives on identified sectors, and culprits of child labour, the gaps in the regulatory instruments as well as domestication and implementation of binding conventions.
Recommendations made at the end of the Workshop by participants included the provision of adequate fund to collaborating agencies responsible for the promotion of child labour including the enhancement of their capacity for advocacy duties.
Besides taking full advantage of the social media, it was also recommended that journalists and their Newsrooms should not work in silos but collaborate more by following up on the reports published by other media organisations and by forming networks or coalitions to collectively work on particular story ideas.
The Media professionals were also urged to familiarise themselves with, cite and draw strength from sister instruments of other international organisations such as the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on the Elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour in the fight against the menace.
Participants at the Workshop included about 30 journalists drawn from the broad spectrum of print, electronic and online media, representatives from the Nigerian Ministries of Labour and Employment and of Mines and Steel Development, as well as stakeholder groups including the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigerian National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), among others.