The 2014 Nobel Prize Laureate and founder of Global March against Child Labour (GMACL), Kailash Satyarthi, has launched the one hundred million campaign to protect children in Accra last week Friday.
The one hundred million campaign, is a global campaign that seeks to withdraw 100 million child labourers out of the global estimate of 168 million child labourers – of which Africa has the majority, reckoned at 59 million.
Kailash Satyarthi, a Nobel Laureate, indicated that the campaign is not going to stop until every child in Africa, and other parts of the world, get access to good quality education.
“Gathered here today are children, students, teachers, parents, chiefs, corporate society and government officials, and we are not here to plead – we are here to seek justice for our own development.
“Nobody can hurt freedom for ages; change is inevitable, and children will be free one day…and that one day should come now,” he said.
He urged young people in African not to only wait and watch injustice and child labour continue, but rather speak up and seek justice – which is their inherent right.
“Economic, political, social, and gender justice cannot be dictated to Africa forever, because the youth now know their rights and must be determined to seek those rights irrespective of the difficulties and limitations,” he added
He further stated that technology has gone global and is improving lives elsewhere around the globe; however, the about-59 million children in African who are engaged in child labour activities have been cut-off from this benefit, and this cannot continue to be the reality.
“One out of three children in Africa sleep hungry every day, facing malnutrition – which is the reality. We must not simply keep sitting down as if we are not concerned, because they are part of us and one of us.”
The campaign launch was graced by the chief of La traditional Council, Nii Matey Quashie Mahama; Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatious Baffour Awuah’ Members of Parliament; Ministry of Education and Gender; General Agriculture Workers Union(GAWU); Ghana National Association of Teachers(GNAT); Corporate society; Students and the Public.
The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatious Baffour, commended the Nobel Laureate for his immense contribution to the fight against child labour globally, and for recognising Ghana as the gateway to Africa.
He also reiterated the pragmatic measures government is putting in place to curb child labour and its counterpart child-trafficking activities in the country, while mentioning those that were initiated since independence.
He also pledged his full support to the campaign, declaring himself as the Ghana ambassador for child labour.
“According to the labour force survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service in 2015, 21% representing about 1.9 million children in Ghana are engaged in child labour – and this indeed calls for intensified, concerted efforts involving all relevant stakeholders to withdraw these children from the canker,” he said.
He further added: “The Children’s Act, Human Trafficking Act, Labour Act and the first National Plan of Action(NPA1) for the elimination of worst forms of child labour, among others, are policies were were formulated and implemented in the past.
“I am glad to inform you today that my ministry has set the ball rolling by allocating GH₵500,000 of its 2018 goods and services budget – representing 13% – toward implementation of the NPA2.”
In likewise response, Nii Matey Quashie, NAT and the ministries of education and gender all pledged their support for the 100 million campaign to help fight child labour in Ghana and Africa, under the slogan ‘100 million: Save, Free and Educate’.