FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO releases “Protect Children from Pesticides!” Guide in Arabic

Protect Children from pesticides Guide.

23 March 2016, Beirut -- Within the framework of integrating Social Protection dimensions to agricultural sector, and in response to the Syrian displaced crisis in rural and agricultural areas of Lebanon, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with the support of the OSP Multidisciplinary Fund (MDF) from both the Building Resilience for Food Security and Nutrition Regional Initiative (FSN RI) and Small Scale Agriculture Regional Initiative (SSA RI) initiated to technically support the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) in Lebanon on Child Labour and on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in agriculture. Initial workshops targeting extension officers at MoA were organized on the importance of OSH in agricultural work, with a special attention to children and women, with the support of the Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division in FAO (ESP) and the Rotterdam convention Secretariat. The visual facilitators’ guide "Protect Children from Pesticides!" was initially conceived as a joint FAO-ILO material in Mali, in the framework of the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child labour in agriculture. . The visual guide has been adapted through a participative process to the Lebanese context and produced in Arabic language.

FAO representative in Lebanon, Dr. Maurice Saade, highlighted the importance of supporting and securing Social Protection for farmers and farms workers: " In the framework of supporting the livelihoods and improving the resilience of rural communities in Lebanon against crises, particularly the Syrian displaced crisis, FAO is intensifying efforts in order to ensure social protection through the implementation of programs designed to reduce poverty and strengthen labor markets”.

The visual guide helps agricultural extension workers, rural school educators, labour inspectors, and producers’ organizations in facilitating sessions with farmers and their families to prevent hazardous uses of pesticides, to know the health consequences of pesticides’exposure and minimizing their exposure risks at home and on farms. The user-friendly guide has three main modules: “How children are exposed to pesticides”, “What the health risks are and Why children are particularly vulnerable”, and “What can be done to reduce those risks”.

Worldwide, nearly 100 million boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 17 are engaged in child labour in agriculture, according to ILO statistics. Many are directly exposed to toxic chemicals while working in agriculture. Yet children are also exposed to pesticides when they help in domestic chores, or through the food they eat and the water they drink, as pesticides can contaminate the environment.

In addition to Arabic, the guide is available in several languages: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian to be used in different geographic regions.

Related links:

Protect Children from pesticides guide

FAO’s contribution to protecting children from pesticide exposure

Child labour in agriculture