Celebrating the International Day of the African Child which happens on Tuesday, June 16, millions of African children are at risk as they go into child labor as a result of COVID-19 other than lacking education and movement rights.
The African Tourism Board (ATB) had organized a virtual discussion to deliberate impending issues facing African children and future plans to develop education for children in Africa and culture to travel through education.
Bearing a banner of “Targeting Children and Youths in African Tourism Development,” the African Tourism Board is now campaigning for education rights for children in Africa. The virtual discussion will take place on June 16 celebrate this annual event.
Africa ranks highest among regions both in the percentage of children in child labor, some being exposed to a dangerous environment that could harm their growth while denying them the right to access education in primary and secondary schools.
The United Nations warned that the COVID-19 crisis could lead to the first rise in child labor after 20 years of progress, according to a new brief from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
Children already engaged in child labor may be working longer hours or under worsening conditions, the report says. More of them may be forced into the worst forms of labo, which causes significant harm to their health and safety.
“As the pandemic wreaks havoc on family incomes, without support, many could resort to child labor,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.
“Social protection is vital in times of crisis as it provides assistance to those who are most vulnerable. Integrating child labor concerns across broader policies for education, social protection, justice, labor markets, and international human and labor rights makes a critical difference.”
COVID-19 could result in a rise in poverty and, therefore, to an increase in child labor as households use every available means to survive. Some studies show that a one percentage point rise in poverty leads to at least a 0.7 percent increase in child labor in certain countries.
“In times of crisis, child labor becomes a coping mechanism for many families,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
“As poverty rises, schools close and the availability of social services decreases; more children are pushed into the workforce. As we re-imagine the world post-COVID, we need to make sure that children and their families have the tools they need to weather similar storms in the future,” she said.
“Quality education, social protection services, and better economic opportunities can be game changers,” she added.
Vulnerable population groups such as those working in the informal economy and migrant workers will suffer most from economic downturn, increased informality and unemployment, the general fall in living standards, health shocks, and insufficient social protection systems, among other pressures.
Evidence is gradually mounting that child labor is rising as schools close during the pandemic. Temporary school closures are currently affecting more than one billion learners in over 130 countries, Africa taking a leading role.
“Even when classes restart, some parents may no longer be able to afford to send their children to school,” the report said.
The UN General Assembly last year adopted a resolution declaring 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor.
The resolution highlighted the member states’ commitments to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor and end modern slavery and human trafficking.
Other measures agreed were to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 to end child labor in all its forms.
As Africa marks the International Day of the African Child, thousands of children in warring nations on the continent are facing the plight under Independent States which failed in their political reconciliation.
Some of these children are killed by soldiers, schoolgirls are abducted then raped and forced into marriages to soldiers, boys are forced into army recruitment to fight elected governments.
Recognizing and supporting campaigns to help African children achieve their educational and welfare dreams as good leaders for tomorrow, the African Tourism Board (ATB) has organized a virtual discussion with prominent panelists to discuss children’s rights in Africa.
Pertinent issues to be addressed will focus on rights to education and exposure through travels within one’s own countries and other states in Africa, all aiming at sowing the seeds for domestic, regional, and intra-Africa tourism.
Educational tours within and outside one of the African states is part of outdoor education that would make the African children first love and then enjoy life in Africa.
The African Tourism Board is an association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from, and within the African region. For more information and how to join, visit africantourismboard.com .