ILO trains Ondo Media Professionals on Elimination of Child labour

By: Ade Adeleke

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) through its Action against Child Labour in Agriculture in West Africa, (ACLAWA), has embarked on 3day Communication for Development Training Workshop for Media Practitioners in Ondo State on the elimination of Child Labour.

The Training that is holding in Akure, between Thursday 13th June and Saturday 15th June, 2024 and participants are drawn from different media organisations in the state.

In a remark, the Director, ILO Country Office For Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone And Liaison Office for ECOWAS, Vanessa Phala, represented the Program Manager of the ILO, ACLAWA Project, Dr. Kolawole Agatha, charged media professionals to use their power to drive meaningful change, urging them to commit to investigating and reporting on child labor issues within the state and beyond.

The Director said “Building on these actions, we are here today to build the capacity of our media partners to support all action in the fight against child labour. The media plays a pivotal role in combating child labor by raising awareness and mobilizing public opinion against this pervasive issue.

“Through investigative journalism,
documentaries, and news reports, the media sheds light on the often hidden and harsh realities faced by child laborers around the world.

“By bringing these stories to the forefront, the media educates the public and policymakers about the scale and severity of child labor, thereby creating a sense of urgency and a call to action. This heightened awareness is crucial for fostering a societal consensus that child labor is unacceptable and must be eradicated.

“Furthermore, media coverage can pressure governments and corporations to implement and enforce stricter laws and policies to protect children from exploitation.

“In addition to raising awareness, the media serves as a platform for advocacy and education, empowering communities to take a stand against child labor. Campaigns and programs broadcasted through various media channels can provide vital information about children’s rights, the importance of education, and the long-term consequences of child labor on individual lives and society.

“The media can amplify the voices of non- governmental organizations (NGOs), activists, and survivors of child labor, ensuring that their messages reach a broad audience. By highlighting successful interventions and stories of rescued children, the media also offers hope and inspiration, demonstrating that change is possible. Overall, the media’s influence is instrumental in driving collective efforts to end child labor and ensuring that the issue remains a priority on the global agenda.

“As media professionals gathered here today, you have the power to drive meaningful change. I urge each of you to commit to investigating and reporting on child labor issues within your communities and beyond.

“Use your platforms to spotlight the stories of affected children, hold accountable those who exploit them, and advocate for policies that protect their rights. Collaborate with NGOs, educators, and policymakers to ensure your stories not only inform but also inspire action.

“Together, we can use the power of the
media to give a voice to the voiceless and help end child labor once and for all. I cannot end this speech without profoundly expressing appreciation to US department of Labour for funding the ACLAWA project- without your support we wouldn’t be here today!

“I am pleased to inform you that the communities have also considered all of these in the development of their Community Action Plan. In March 2024, the ILO’s ACLAWA project began co-planning with prioritized community- level interventions in 10 cocoa-producing communities in Ondo State.

“In March 2024, the ACLAWA project supported the FMLE to establish Community Child Labour Monitoring Committee also known as Community Action Plan Committee. After
the establishment, the ACLAWA project trained over 100 committee members, Community Development Officers, NOA Community Mobilization officers and Agric extension officers on their roles in the elimination of child labour at the community level.

“You will agree with me that the ACLAWA project, funded by the US Department of Labor and implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO), stands as a ray of hope. The project recognizes the crucial role communities play in eradicating child labour and
empowers them to act. Through the establishment of CAP committees, we created a platform for community ownership and leadership in the fight against child labour.”

Addressing the participants, Leke Adegbite, the Ondo NUJ chairman, who appreciated the efforts of the ILO through the ACLAWA project towards eradication of child labour in the country said the mass media have the capacity to help the key stakeholders in eliminating child labour in Ondo state.

Adegbite also urged media practitioners to give top priority to investigate and report child labour related cases through their various platforms.

Also speaking on the investigation and writing of human interest stories in the quest to eliminate child labor, The National information officer of the United Nations Information Centre, UNIC, Dr. Oluseyi Soremekun listed the skills and components of Investigative reporting to include credible sources, Data gathering, Undercover and protection of identities of underaged children as well as follow up to the stories.

Dr Soremekun encouraged journalists in the state to change the narrative on child labor reporting to build more conversation that will spur the government to intensify efforts towards eliminating child labor.

In an address, the Controller, Federal Ministry Of Labour And Employment in Ondo State, Mrs Olanike Mogboruko, said “Child Labor is scourge that affects millions of children worldwide, robbing them of their childhood, dignity and potential As media practitioners, you play a vital role in shaping public opinion, influencing policies and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities.

“Your participation in this workshop demonstrates your commitment to using your platforms for social groups. The federal ministry of labour and employment is alwaysready to collaborate with stakeholder to ensure elimination of child labor.

“Together, we can create a world where every child has asses to education, protection and opportunity to reach their full potential. Let us work together to harness the power of media to end child labor by being attentive to this these workshops and make necessary contribution where necessary contributions where necessary.”

Goodwill messages were delivered by representatives of workers’ unions, NLC and TUC.

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