child-rightsWorking for Child Rights in the extractive industries in Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania

By Elias Jika

Earlier this year, we started implementing the two-year “Child Rights and Safety in the Extractives Industry Sector in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda” with funding from the OAK Foundation. On the project, CFJ partners with Foundation for Environmental Management and Advocacy Against Poverty (FEMAPO) in Tanzania, Straight Talk Foundation (STF) in Uganda, with technical support being provided by Bank Information Centre (BIC) in Washington, D.C., USA, through their regional office in Uganda. The project was launched with a Project Management Team inception meeting on the 4th and 5th November 2015 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The project has two phases; 1) Research and 2) Lobbying and Advocacy, with the documented research results of the first phase being used in the second phase of the project.

There are many extractives industry projects in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. These projects are new and as a result, mechanisms, either judicial or non-judicial, must be introduced through policy and legal instruments to mitigate their impact on child rights in the three countries. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impact of the mining sector. In the mining sites and the surrounding communities in all these countries, children are exposed to many problems and child rights violations such as child marriages, child labour, rape/defilement as well as the violation of basic rights like the right to protection, education and to play, just to mention a few. It is therefore vital to put in place interventions to address these issues to make sure that the rights of the children are protected, fulfilled and respected.

The main focus of the project is firstly, to analyse the impact of projects in the extractives industry sector (Mining, Oil and Gas) on children’s rights in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda and advise on specific actions to mitigate on such impacts. Secondly, the project will also focus on enhancing the capacity of governments and non-state actors to address impacts of the extractive industry on children in line with the recommendations of United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) General Comment 16. To achieve the set out goal of protecting the rights of children and ensure their safety, the project seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Conduct research on the impact of businesses in the extractive industry on children
  2. Advocate for improved protections for children in World Bank Safeguards, including a requirement that all World Bank funded projects conduct child impact assessments, monitor World Bank projects in Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania to ensure that quality child rights impact assessments are carried out and appropriate mitigation measures are identified and put in place
  3. Conduct community awareness and sensitisation campaigns on child rights and protection
  4. Train members of community-based organisations (CBOs), local/traditional leaders, teachers, police, prosecutors and magistrates on respect, protection and fulfilment of child rights, and support children and their guardians to lodge legal complaints through established mechanisms to help provide children whose rights have been infringed by a business enterprise with an effective remedy.
Working for Child Rights in the extractive industries in Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania
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