JTI Leaf Malawi has launched the second phase of a child labour reduction response program, ARISE, aiming to bring an end to child labor in tobacco growing communities.
The Achieving Reduction of Child Labour in Support of Education (ARISE) deals with the issue by providing access to education, creating alternative economic opportunities and advocating for policy change.
Speaking at the launch at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe, Corporate Affairs and Communications Director Limbani Kakhome said the ARISE program has been launched under a theme called “Creating Change Together.”
“At JTI, we seek to understand the complex and interconnected reasons that child labor exists, and engage and collaborate with those who can contribute to tackling the issues. We believe that education provides children and communities with the chance of a future that is free from child labor,” said Kakhome.
JTI has partnered with International Labor Organization (ILO), Winrock, Government of Malawi and local communities to jointly implement this program.
Limbani added that in the three year of ARISE, JTI has constructed teachers’ offices, classrooms and sanitary facilities.
Through these projects, JTI has reached out to 12,380 children. Over 40 schools in ARISE communities have also been supported with ARISE interventions.
“Over and above this, 10 884 community members and teachers have been made aware of child labor and how to manage it in their communities,” he said.
He said JTI takes a holistic and multi-sector approach in dealing with child labour in the communities where the company sources its leaf needs. Kakhome said JTI’s stand against child labour is very bold and clear.
“We abhor child labour in all its forms. We strongly believe that no matter how compelling the reasons might be, there is no justification for subjecting these innocent souls to the hazards of labour,” he said.
Principal Education Officer Responsible for Complementary Basic Education Esnart Chaponda who was the Guest of Honour at the function thanked JTI Leaf Malawi for its endeavours to fight child labour in Malawi.
Child labour is an evil that should be uprooted in our societies and we thank JTI Leaf Malawi for partnering government to end child labour in the country,” she said.
JTI first launched ARISE program in 2011. During the past three years, the company has constructed teachers’ offices, classrooms and sanitary facilities. In addition, it has reached out to 12 380 children while over 40 schools in ARISE communities have been supported with ARISE interventions like providing vocational training to children who feel old enough to go back to school. Over and above this, 10 884 community members and teachers have been made aware of child labour and how to manage it in their communities.
According to Kakhome, his company has been collaborating with the International Labour Organization, Winrock International, Government of Malawi and local communities in implementing the program.