Hoima District Uganda – From May 17 to 19, over 120 stakeholders gathered in the Hoima District in Uganda to take part in a conference titled “Quality Education and Skills Development: A Sustainable Way of Eliminating Child Labour in Agriculture.” The conference was the official launch of the Hoima District Action Plan on Child Labour, a first of its kind not only in Uganda, but throughout the sub-Saharan region, outlining critical inter-sectoral commitments and actions needed at the district level to effectively address the root causes of child labour under the Ugandan National Action Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour.
“Child Labour is a cross-cutting issue,” said Labour Commissioner Hon. Patrick Okello. “It is felt across the board. Therefore, we need a cross-sector approach.”
With current ILO reports estimating that the majority (59%) of the 168 million children across the globe are found in agriculture, the conference provided a needed platform for a cross-sector discussion about child labour in a key agricultural district of Uganda. It was convened by the Hoima District Council, with the support of the national Government of Uganda, under the leadership of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD), the ECLT Foundation, its partner Uganda Women’s Efforts Save Orphans (UWESO), and in collaboration with the ILO. The two-day event’s participants represented Ugandan ministries; national and Hoima District-level officials; the US Department of Labor; academia; worker & employer organisations from Uganda; agriculture company representatives from tobacco, sugar, and tea; civil society; as well as parents and children from the district where the REALISE Project is working.
A blueprint for districts in Uganda and beyond
Much of the conference focused on building multi-stakeholder support for the implementation of the District Action Plan on Child Labour.
“Having the best policy does not always mean that it will be implemented well,” said Mr. Luke Lokuda, Hoima District Chief Administrative Officer. “We hope that our District Action Plan can be well implemented and later serve as a blueprint for other districts.”
The discussions during this forum between stakeholders and sectors succeeded in promoting greater alignment, operational commitments, and resources needed for the sustainable implementation of the District Action Plan.
Sharing successes from Hoima
The Hoima District is not only serving as a hub for good practices in eliminating child labour in agriculture at the policy level. The ECLT Foundation’s REALISE project has also shown significant results in combatting the root causes of child labour. In 2015 alone, more than 6,700 children and caregivers were trained about the physical and emotional dangers of hazardous child labour; over 4,900 households benefited from training on sustainable income-generating activities like poultry and animal rearing; and there was a 39% increase in school enrolment after two school gardens were established to provide food for students.
Children, teens, and parents joined the conference to learn about the new District Action Plan and share their success stories. Participants in mothers’ groups shared how they now feel empowered to identify what child labour is and to work together to find solutions for their communities. Teens shared how they have been successful in vocational trainings and are now contributing to their families’ incomes in a way that is safe and sustainable.
Committing to working together in the future
During the second day of the conference, participants came together to make specific commitments for the implementation of the District Action Plan. To learn more about these commitments, please see the Conference Outcome Document. The Hoima District Action Plan can be found here: DAP on the Elimination of the WFCL in Hoima District