In February 2010 the ILO/IPEC carried out a communication audit on current awareness raising efforts as well as the effectiveness and the efficacy with which child labour messages are communicated to communities. The findings showed the need for heightened awareness on child labour issues through increased community knowledge and understanding on child labour and informing communities of its detrimental effects and actions that can be taken to protect children and help them reach their full potential. A community framework was also developed and this strengthened the need to involve children and young people in activities such as awareness raising.
It is against this background that Somero Uganda proposed to work with children who are ex-child-labourers to create awareness on the prevention of child labour and the promotion of education through the development of art murals. With the support from the ILO-IPEC, Somero Uganda in partnership with UYDEL and RYDA implemented a three months’ Mini programme on “Increased awareness on child labour prevention issues and promotion of Education.” in Nabweru sub-county, Wakiso district.
The main objective of the project was to increase community awareness on child labour, the prevention of child labour and promotion of education. This report therefore explains how the project was implemented, the strategy used and its immediate outcomes and lessons learnt.
Children’s SCREAM workshop
SCREAM (Supporting Children’s Rights through Education the Art and the Media) is an education and mobilization tools ILO/IPEC and her partners use to meaningfully engage children in the campaign against child labour. 35 children were taken through a SCREAM training for 5 days. The children were drawn from Somero Uganda and the ILO-IPEC/SNAP implementing agencies UYDEL and RYDA. These children have been withdrawn from various forms of child labour and these include stone quarrying, commercial sexual exploitation, domestic work, sand mining and brick laying. Apart from facilitating child participation, the workshop also aimed to provide information on HIV/AIDS, child labour, gender, education and extensively explored how young people can be agents of social change.
The workshop explored topics such as the relationship between HIV/AIDS and child labour, child labour and gender, the difference between child work and child labour and highlighted basic information on child labour. Facilitators indicated that there is a very strong relationship between HIV/AIDS and child labour and one can lead to the other resulting into a vicious cycle of HIV/AIDS and child labour.
It was also stressed that to eliminate child labour, all the different stakeholders must work together. More so, the role that young people can play was also noted. Participants indicated that young people need to scale up efforts in raising awareness on child labour in their communities. They added that it was essential that other young people become aware of child labour and its detrimental effects to the children and communities so that they can be in position to stand up for their rights and become part of the fight against child labour.
The children noted that various ways can be employed to raise awareness on child labour. Amongst the ways mentioned were drama shows, designing posters, organizing community outreaches, establishing anti-child labour clubs in communities and schools, using sports and painting of community art murals.
Geofrey Nsubuga, the National Coordinator of Somero Uganda explained that the awareness raising campaign would use art murals to sensitize communities on child labour and the essence of education. The art mural project was intended to encourage artistic exploration and advancement and most importantly to involve young people in the awareness raising campaign on child labour.
The children were involved in coming up with concepts on child labour. These were developed into sketches which were then transformed into art murals. They were also involved in field testing the art concepts, scouting for walls and seeking permission from the owners of the buildings on which they sought to paint the murals.
Launch of the Art Murals
The launch of the art murals was held at the Wakiso district Education department on 20th April 2011. It was officiated by the Wakiso District Labour Officer and attended by officials from the Wakiso district labour office, the Education department, publicity department, representatives from partner agencies and some of the children who had participated in the art murals.
Several presentations were made by the children, the District Labour Officer and the National Coordinator Somero. The children’s presentations highlighted the fact that many children are involved in child labour but they are not aware that it is child labour. It was also noted that the SCREAM workshop was instrumental in helping them acquire knowledge regarding child labour and skills that they could use in raising awareness on child labour amongst their peers and the communities. The children also emphasized that “children should not keep quiet; they should feel free to talk about their problems”