Decent Rural Employment

Child labour in agriculture capacity development workshop series in Malawi


In December 2010, knowledge-sharing and planning workshops on child labour in agriculture were organized in Lilongwe, Malawi by the Child Labour Unit of the Ministry of Labour in cooperation with the FAO, ILO and IUF on behalf of the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture.

The principal result of the workshops was a national activity plan to support the Child Labour National Action Plan for Malawi (2009-2016) to better address child labour in agriculture. The plan highlighted four main work areas: policies, legislation and law enforcement; stakeholder coordination; awareness and knowledge; and livelihood support at community and family level, including education.

One of the key initial activities identified was a series of capacity development workshops to raise awareness among stakeholders, particularly in the agriculture sector, and improve stakeholder coordination. The first two workshops for manager and director-level, and mid-level technical staff took place from 23 to 27 May in Salima, Malawi.  The third workshop, for district staff, took place in Kasungu, Malawi from 11-15 July, 2011.  They were co-organized by the Government of Malawi, FAO and the ILO.

Workshop One brought together mid-level staff of relevant government organizations and other stakeholders to bring knowledge about child labour in agriculture to the operational level and to identify entry points and practices to better integrate child labour into the current work of agriculture and labour organizations. A total of about 35 people attended, representing the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, producers’ organizations from the tea and sugar sector, a small holder farmers association, a trade union, fisheries officers, as well as FAO and ILO representatives.

Workshop Two brought together managers and directors from the same institutions to ensure a common basis of understanding and knowledge exchange on child labour in agriculture, as well as to identify the linkages with each organization’s mandate and therefore the arguments for integrating child labour in their current work. Some 18 participants representing the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Ministry of Gender, Children and Community Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Development Planning and Cooperation; a trade union, civil society, FAO and ILO attended the second part of the training.

Workshop Three focused on building capacity at the district level and the development of district activity plans on child labour in agriculture. Sixty Participants from the districts of Kasungu, Mangochi and Mzimba attended.  Participants were mainly agriculture extension staff (fisheries, forestry, irrigation, etc.) and labour inspectors, as well as district education, health, social services and planning officers and representatives of UNICEF, key NGOs and farmers’ organizations. 

During the national workshops field visits were organized to a fishing community, while during the district workshop participants visited a tobacco and maize processing estate for a health and safety risk assessment. There was also a field visit to a magistrate court related to a case of child labour in livestock and to project sites focused on education or skills-training for former child labourers and household income diversification.


Go to: Child labour in agriculture