(Dar es Salaam, May 8, 2018). New findings of a formative study by Ifaraha Health Institute (IHI) and partners which focused on children in mining show that child miners, both girls and boys, are reported to start working in the mines from the age of 7 years.
The same study reports that children younger than that accompany their mothers.
Meanwhile, the study attributes high school dropout rates to, among other reasons, poverty caused by high rates of broken marriages, an unstable (mining) income pattern, low prioritization of schooling because of the temporary and mobile residency in mining areas, and peer influence.
The report documenting the study results which focused on children in mining under the USAID Kizazi Kipya implementation programme, states that working in mining is widely said to be a main cause of school drop-out, absenteeism, and low school performance.
IHI’s Emmy Metta, Ramadhani Abdul, and Eveline Geubbels compiled the report and funding for the research activities was provided by USAID through USAID Kizazi Kipya, managed by Pact.
Read the full report here: USAID Kizazi Kipya formative assesment report for English version
Soma ripoti kamili hapa: Ripoti ya Tathmini ya Mradi wa USAID Kizazi Kipya Kiswahili
The report states that the mining communities define being a child in terms of economic independence rather than age or being part of a family structure. However, it says:
“There is a widely shared opinion that parents are responsible to care and provide for their children, that children have the right to go to school, and that child labor beyond light work helping in the household should not be condoned.”
The report also says that hours of work depend on whether children work alone or for/with their family or a third person and may be very long.
Pay: Children taken advantage of
“Payment is highly variable. Children are taken advantage of because of their weak negotiation position. Sometimes agreed on pay is paid out late or not at all or childrens mining yield is stolen from them.”
According to the report, several instances and forms of sexual and physical abuse of children were reported from all study sites.
It also notes that percieved and reported health problems of children in mining range from those specific to the mining activities, namely injuries, consequences of mercury and sulphuric acid exposure; those related to the living circumstances (stomach and bowel disease, malaria, pneumonia), and those related to the poor and dangerous social environment (HIV, sexual/physical trauma, alcohol and drug abuse consequences).
Among other solutions to the problem, the study urges authorities to engage communities in developing and enforcing child-labor by-laws; raise awareness on the health and development risks associated with children working in mining; and provide parental skills training to help parents understand the consequences of child labor in mines, help keep families intact, and reduce child marriage.
It also calls for economic strengthening and devising of alternative sources of income for families of children working in mines, through savings and lending groups, vocational training, small start-up capital, and training in personal financial management and entrepreneurship. #