As challenges caused by Covid -19 pandemic continue with no clear end, the Elimination of Child Labour in Tobacco growing [ECLT] Foundation, says it is committed to collaborative solutions for children and their families that combat the root causes of child labour in areas where tobacco is grown.
ECLT says in farming communities with high rates of poverty, children are at risk to be among the estimated 24 million students who will never go back to school after the Covid -19 closures globally saying when parents struggle to make ends meet, sending out –of –school children to work often seems like the only option.
The organization says it is advocating for strong policies, share best practices to multiply the impact, and engage rural families so that they are healthy, educated, and encouraged to reach their full potential.
This is contained in a statement by the ECLT Foundation from Geneva -Switzerland dated 14th October, 2020 with the subject; Coping with Covid -19 closures, rural communities must not be left behind.
In the statement, the ECLT says in line with its strategic plan, the Foundation has prioritized collaborative efforts during the Covid -19 crisis saying in Malawi, they are reaching out through TAMA Farmers Trust to raise awareness on social distancing and provide hand washing materials for public health.
The ECLT says as a Foundation, they are taking essential steps in the countries where they work and seeing results saying collaboration is needed more than ever to scale –up efforts and promote sustainability, now and in the coming years.
ECLT says since 2000, the organization has strategically invested to fight child labour, strengthened education and promote sustainable development in areas where tobacco is grown in Malawi and provided support and technical assistance for multi –stakeholder engagement and strong government policy at national level to protect all children.
It says the economic fall out of the Covid -19 crisis is acute in rural communities in developing nations, where global poverty rates are highest, ILO Child Labour estimates confirm that over 70 percent of all child labour is in agriculture, mostly alongside parents on family farms, saying supporting farmers to increase their incomes and access markets plays a critical role in keeping rural children in school.
The statement says the New York Times draws global attention to these harsh realities driving millions of children into hazardous child labour in developing nations, calling for urgent and sustained investment to keep these children in education and build families’ capacities to get back on their feet is crucial.…..’’This is a time for coordinated investment and strategic action focused on education, building local capacities and reigniting economic opportunities in farming communities,’’…..said Mike Ligon, President of the ECLT Foundation.
By Vincent Gunde