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ILO, FAO offer free course on elimination of child labour in agriculture

Speedy inter-institutional action essential to achieving SDG 8.7 in Africa

A girl collecting sand for sale. The sand will be used to lay sardines out to dry. Photo: ©FAO/K. Pratt / FAO

6 June 2018  –  FAO and ILO are jointly publishing a free e-learning course to raise awareness about child labour among the main actors in the agricultural, livestock, forestry, fishery and aquaculture sectors.

The course available in English, French and Spanish is timely, considering that disclosures in the ILO global report for 2012-2016 show that almost 71 per cent of 152 million child labourers globally work in agriculture. The figure reflects an upward trend from 59 per cent in the previous reference period.

While the number of child labour in general is decreasing slowly worldwide, child labour in agriculture has risen alarmingly.  

In Africa, one in five children is a child laborer, which translates into a total of 72 million children, with 62 million of them (or 85 per cent) working in agriculture.

Child labour in agriculture can jeopardize children’s wellbeing and, by reducing the time they can dedicate to education, it can compromise their future development.

Furthermore, child labour drives down the wages of adult workers, pushing even more children into child labour because of their parents’ persistent poverty.

A vicious cycle of poverty is thus triggered affecting children, their families and their communities.

Rural poverty is one of the root causes and also consequences of child labour. The involvement and contribution of agriculture stakeholders is therefore crucial to propose alternative support for production and household incomes without recourse to child labour.

ILO-FAO e-learning: a tool to contribute to eradicate child labour

The FAO-ILO e-learning course is an effective tool to equip practitioners in the agricultural sector with knowledge and practical guidance on concrete actions to take in the quest to eradicate child labour in agriculture.

The course responds to the specific needs of various professional figures, allowing them to choose a path suitable for their functions.

Apart from the introductory module, it contains modules on data evaluation and generation, coordination of concerned stakeholders and concrete means for integrating this theme into agricultural policies and programmes.

Moreover, it offers modules on monitoring and evaluation of child labour indicators, as well as on capacity development and effective communication.

Although the course targets primarily agricultural and rural decision-makers responsible for agricultural and rural development programmes, agricultural researchers and statisticians, it is also highly relevant for other target audiences, such as staff of the Ministries of Labour, Education and Social Welfare, NGOs and university students.

The course is a public good offered by the FAO and ILO, with financial support from the Monarchy of The Netherlands. It is interactive and available in English, French and Spanish languages at the FAO e-learning center.

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