In a recent research report by the AfriChild Centre, a child-focused research organization, in collaboration with Terre DesHommies Netherlands (TdH Netherlands), alarming statistics have come to light regarding child labor in the Elgon region.
The report reveals that an unsettling 48% of children aged 5-17 in Kapchworwa, Sironko, Mbale, and Bududa are actively involved in various stages of coffee production and the value addition chain.
Presented at the prestigious Pretoria Hotel in Mbale city during a dissemination meeting, the findings were shared by Alex Arinaitwe, the research coordinator. The study involved 1,871 children from 771 households, with boys accounting for 51% of child laborers and girls making up 42%.
Arinaitwe emphasized that parents often make the decision for their children to engage in such laborious activities, receiving a portion of the income generated from their work.
The report identifies poverty as the primary driver of child labor, coupled with the demand for cheap labor by coffee farmers and dealers.
Munaaba Isaac Daniel, the program coordinator at TdH Netherlands, stressed the significance of the research, noting that the Eastern Uganda region has a higher prevalence of child labor compared to the previous study in Western Uganda, which reported a 30% rate. This follow-up research serves as a wake-up call to address this pressing issue.
Bwayo Emma, the Namisindwa District Male Youth Councilor, acknowledged the findings of the report, condemning child labor as a violation of children’s rights. He emphasized the importance of considering the vulnerability of households when addressing this issue.
Bwayo asserts that the alarming statistics presented in this report call for immediate action from stakeholders to protect the rights and well-being of these vulnerable children.