The project succeeded in its primary aim of protecting children from hazardous child labour in tobacco-growing. Specifically, through the project, 822 children out of a target of 600 were withdrawn from child labour in tobacco and were provided with educational services.
There was a general trend of improved school performance in the last two years of the project in Urambo district, which was ascribed to the combined efforts of the government and the project itself.
On the government’s side, a new policy of free and compulsory primary education coupled with concerted attempts to enhance the educational infrastructure at the primary and secondary level led to improved standards and performance.
But improved standards were also as a result of the project’s focus on the educational needs of children. This approach not only meant withdrawing children from the fields and placing them in the classroom but also ensuring that they remained there for four years. High-quality scholastic materials were issued to children to encourage them to go to school and new classroom blocks were constructed. Specifically, 675 children (381 boys and 294 girls) received school education; 147 children (92 boys and 55 girls) received vocational training; and 15 schools were constructed.
There was also a significant increase in community and individual fundraising activities to support education-related facilities, including teachers’ houses at Kaliua village, Kasis village, Itundu village and dormitories at Songambele ward secondary school.
There was a marked increase in adherence to children’s rights over the course of the project. A project-wide awareness campaign centred on the illegal and exploitative nature of child labour and succeeded for two reasons:
- The public was educated about the basic rights that children were entitled to in terms of food, shelter, healthcare and education.
- Tobacco companies leaf technicians’ made it clear to farmers that child labour was illegal, and that therefore any further use of child labour on farms would result in the companies ceasing to purchase tobacco from that farmer.
The project focused on the empowerment of beneficiaries beyond the life of the project itself. The interventions were both sustainable and long-term, and based on a realistic assessment of what would make the most difference. Through the project, 36 Community Child Labour Committees were formed, which monitored incidents of child labour, and thus acted as a framework of protection for children in the project area. In addition effective networks were established with various partners working on child labour, such as Winrock International.
Capacity building also meant the identification and encouragement of good practices in order for the project to be sustainable beyond the life of the project itself. The following good practices emerged from UTSP I:
- The project facilitated the formation and training of village labour committees, which served as watchdogs in each village and effectively monitored the presence of children in school.
- Community support for the project was the catalyst to various development activities. While the project funded the provision of industrial building materials and skilled labour, the communities themselves contributed burnt bricks and unskilled labour.
- The project encouraged community leaders to identify further initiatives to gather materials for necessary activities, such as the construction of teachers’ houses or the provision of school desks.
- Vocational students were supported and helped with loans to purchase tools for their chosen professions.
- Vulnerable parents were supported with IGAs of their choice and to exploit opportunities presented by the market.
- Teachers at Jionee Mwenyewe primary school ensured that their pupils were at the forefront of the fight to eliminate child labour. The children were taught their rights through song and are now singing these rights to parents during school closing sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays.
- The Tanzania Tobacco Board, the Association of Tanzanian Tobacco Traders, the Western Zone Tobacco Growers Cooperative Union formed a steering committee to assist with awareness raising for tobacco growers in the country. As a result, the industry funds a radio programme through Mwanza based Radio Free Africa to raise awareness with tobacco growers on the effects of hazardous child labour.
- The tobacco trading companies Tanzania Leaf Tobacco Company and Alliance One Tobacco Company established oxen training centres. Trained animals and implements (ploughs and carts) are loaned to tobacco growers at interest-free rates.
The project recognised that vulnerable families would need alternative sources of income to replace the income provided by children when working in tobacco fields. To that end:
- 150 families benefitted from the support of Income Generating Activities (IGAs), such as maize production, use of animal power for crop production and chicken rearing, out of a target of 250.
- 430 adult members (203 men and 227 women) of vulnerable families were trained in IGAs.
- 13 credit and saving societies were also created.