The Ministry of Labor and Industrial Relations in collaboration with the International Labor Organization has signed a four-year protocol at the Kimbima Hotel in Freetown over the weekend to tackle “Child Labor for Education” in Sierra Leone.
The signing ceremony was chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labor and Industrial Relations, M V Kanneh who spoke about the need for stake holders to support children in acquiring education to prepare them for a prosperous future.
He further expressed thanks and appreciation to the Government and its International Partners for preparing a protocol which would tackle the increase in child labor practices by parents, guardians and also at various work places, which has left many children with a bleak future.
A representative from the Sierra Leone Labor Congress, Davidson Kuyateh, in his statement noted that the protocol to tackle child labor in Sierra Leone for education is a step in the right direction, as it would ensure that children’s welfare are properly taken care of by concerned authorities.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Dr. Algassimu Jah expressed thanks and appreciation to stake holders and development partners like ILO for deeming it fit to prepare a protocol to focus on Child education. He noted that the protocol to tackle child labor would accelerate progress which has already been made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals; as over two hundred and forty-one thousand (241,000) children are currently out of school in the country and hoped that the protocol would support children financially and technically to achieve their academic challenges. The Deputy Minister intimated that, the Government is working towards the promulgation of the child trafficking act, and has also ratified other conventions on the rights of children without proper consultations with the people nation wide, but however hoped that this protocol would make an impact on the lives of many children in Sierra Leone. “Imprisonment and fines would be imposed on parents who fail to send their children to school, as the APC government is determined to reinforce conventions. The Minister of Labor and Industrial Relations Minkailu Mansaray, expressed thanks and appreciation to the various child welfare organizations and the International Labor organization for the formulation of an action plan on child labor. He noted that, “children are denied education, and care, adding that they are also vulnerable to hazardous environment, drug trafficking, prostitution and child pornography,” he said. The ILO Director, Sino Chuma Nkandeire explained that the project would target beneficiaries and also focus on educational skills training and capacity building programs to empower children to become self reliant for sustainable development so as to alleviate poverty amongst children. The signing ceremony between the International Labor Organization, Government of Sierra Leone and the European Commission formed a high point of the partnership protocol to tackle child labor in Sierra Leone
By Saidu Bah