Masindi, Kiryandongo districts grapples with child labor in tobacco growing areas–Report

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The districts of Kiryandongo and Masindi are facing a high rate of child labor in the tobacco growing areas something which has led to the increase of school drop outs.

According to the study done by Community Driven network (CODNET) Uganda between June and July 2019 in the sub counties of Budongo, Bwijanga, Pakanyi, Kigumba and Kiryandono  in Masindi and Kiryandongo districts respectively, 58.7%  of the children have left school due to in adequate scholastic materials and joined tobacco growing.

The report which was presented by Mary Alituha indicate that 8.6% of the children in the two districts are hired by different employees to do the tobacco related activities while 59.3%  of the children work to supplement on their family income.

According to the study children are involved in intensive child labor in tobacco growing families like bush clearing and nursery bed setting. The report also notes that children are seen as source of cheap labor as opposed to education.

The report also revealed that a girl child in the two districts is seen as bridal wealth at the expense of education.

It also showed that 17.5% of the school going children istemporarily stopped from schooling during the peak of tobacco activities. It also adds that 36.4% of the children work to pay school fees while 21% work to buy daily basic needs.

According to Atuhuura, a total of 342 respondents were reached while conducting the study adding that 54.7% were from Masindi while 45.3 were from Kiryandongo district.

She added that the aim of the survey was to identify the major forms of child labor in the tobacco growing areas and suggest ways on how to address them.

The report targeted children between 5 to eighteen years but children who were reached were found with permanent injuries like back ache, constant headache, body itches and scar.

Speaking during the dissemination of the report at Kabalega resort hotel, Adolf Kato the deputy district education officer Masindi noted that another area which needs to be tackled is the sugar cane growing areas saying that there are very many forms of child labor big practiced.

He also explained that another area is the rice growing  and maize growing areas where children have been left to scare baboons and birds hence failing them to attend school.

Cosmas Byaruhanga the Chairperson  LCV Masindi district said that the main cause of child labor are the parents whom he said  have failed to perform their roles and responsibilities. He warned men to stop ending at fathering children but also to provide for them until they become self-reliant.

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