Stop Child Labour on tea plantations in Zimbabwe

Despite the abolition of the Earn and Learn System by Tanganda Tea Company some 3-4 years ago, a Baseline Survey conducted by CACLAZ in Ward 8, Chipinge (Zimbabwe) revealed that there is still some residual child labour. About 189 children were out of school and actively involved in child labour related activities especially tea picking and cattle herding.

Extensive awareness raising or sensitization meetings on the child labour scourge were conducted by CACLAZ and its partners targeting key stakeholders firstly at District Level through the District Child Protection Committee, an organ which encompasses relevant government departments such as Child Care, Education, Labour, Local Government, NGO’s and Civil Society. Community Leadership which includes the local MP, Chiefs, Headman, Councillors, Village Heads, Teachers and Parents were also enlightened on this issue.

Together with ZNCWC and ZIMTA, CACLAZ created platforms for engaging the Zimbabwe Tea Growers Association, Tanganda Tea Company and Ariston Holdings. Apart from the several meetings held to raise awareness, other strategies were used, including distribution of IEC Materials, conducting a fun –run and a National Commemoration characterised by drama, poetry, singing by children and speeches from the Junior and Senior MPs, Senior Government Officials including District Education Officer, District Administrator Chipinge, Deputy Secretary (Labour and Social Services) and the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Services. Representatives from Tanganda and Ariston Holdings also addressed the gatherings, openly denouncing child labour.

Increased awareness and appreciation of the child scourge by company officials and parents resulted in the return of most children to school, despite of the numerous prevailing socio-economic challenges in Zimbabwe.