Mozambique Communities Keep Their Eyes on Children, Remove Child Labour From Supply Chain

Child labourers identified and re enrolled by CCCP NkhameChild labourers identified and re-enrolled in school by CCCP, Nkhame community.

The Realizing Effective Action for Children Together (REACT) project is seeking to change the way communities in Mozambique think about child labour. In Angonia district, children working on local farms have long been the norm. Today, REACT project leaders are bringing together stakeholders from state institutions, local authorities, and civil society to empower community leaders to create a culture that says no to child labour.

Multi-stakeholder groups consisting of community members and local leaders, known as Community Committees for Child Protection (CCCPs), are working in target intervention areas (Angonia district during year one, and Macanga district in year two) to raise community awareness on the dangers and consequences of child labour on children’s lives and identify children who are at risk of entering child labour.

Appointed community members are responsible for visiting all tobacco and mining production areas to identify whether children are engaged in child labour. If there are children working on the premises, CCCPs notify local authorities and record their findings on a data collection form. This step is crucial, as identifying and measuring the prevalence of child labour is one of the first steps in eliminating it.

One of the CCCPs’ main roles is to monitor all families in the district who are involved in tobacco and other cash crop production. They hold weekly meetings to inform families of the dangers of involving their children in tobacco production, and encourage them to instead send their children to school.

Because of these efforts, 15 children—boys and girls ages 12-18—in the Dzatumbe community who had previously dropped out of school to work with their parents in tobacco production, were withdrawn from child labour and reintegrated in local primary school. To ensure these children stay in school, the school council monitors their progress once per week.

In the Ndaula community, Head of Locality, Adelino Cacobue Rossitala, led efforts to withdraw 15 children from gold mining and place them back in school.

Efforts are also being made at the corporate level. Zone committees hold bi-weekly meetings with leaders from Mozambique Leaf Tobacco (MLT) production clubs to raise awareness on the hazards of child labour in tobacco growing.

MLT Nkame heads of tobacco production clubs have joined CCCPs and community leaders in raising awareness on child labour in tobacco growing and avoid working with families who use their children as labour in the fields.

The CCCPs from the Nkame community continue to educate MLT tobacco production clubs on the dangers of child labour in tobacco. MLT production club heads, who have great supply chain influence, disseminate this information among tobacco producers. Further, as REACT staff witnessed at a recent psychosocial support training, MLT production club heads have become spokespeople for eliminating hazardous child labour in the tobacco fields.

The positive impact that these local areas in Mozambique are experiencing since the REACT project launch is possible because of the joint efforts of community members, leaders, local private and public sector authorities, and corporate stakeholders. Only when we work together, can we truly make an impact. Together, we are making a better life for children in tobacco-growing communities.