Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has started a sustainable programme in Kaoma district aimed at preventing child labour in tobacco-growing communities.
JTI, working in collaboration with International Labour Organization and Winrock International, is seeking to prevent and reduce child labour by addressing social and economic factors that drive small-holder tobacco farmers to engage children in hazardous work.
In an interview, Kaoma District Child Labour Committee chairperson, Lungowe Silishebo, said JTI has come up with a programme known as Achieving Reduction of Child Labour in Support of Education (ARISE), a multi-year strategy that will be implemented in Kaoma.
Ms Silishebo said the programme will aim at creating awareness on the detrimental effects of child labour by identifying and training child labour community activists to spearhead campaigns.
She said the ARISE programme will focus on working with the traditional communities which have a strong cultural heritage of children who will help to change the damaging cultural habits, increase acceptance of the schooling system and improve school infrastructure.
Ms Silishebo said once the programme is fully implemented, it is expected to improve the income earning potential and long-term livelihoods of the farmers in their communities.
She further said JTI’s support for income generating activities through capital investment, basic literacy, numeracy, and business entrepreneurial skills will economically empower tobacco-growing communities.
JTI and its partners have launched and implemented similar programmes in Brazil and Malawi.
In Zambia the ARISE programme will be implemented in Kaoma, Western province.