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From Farms and Fields to Classrooms

, se puede “Yes We Can”

July 30, 2012, Washington DC; In response to Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson of Global March Against Child Labour’s closing question on, “Can we have child labour free agricultural products and commodities?” the 159 participants from 39 countries at the International Conference on Child Labour in Agriculture, in Washington DC, USA, chanted YES WE CAN “Si, se puede”.

The delegates of the conference for two and half days discussed and explored how to better support farmers especially small scale farmers , agriculture workers, and their families, so that these workers and their families can earn decent living and send their children to schools.  The participants shared ideas to encourage youth, who are of the legal age in their country, to work on farms and plantations, with safe and healthy conditions; and to also ensure that agriculture becomes a job that youth want to work in and not see as dirty and dangerous. 

To make agriculture child labour free and to better support these groups, the conference adopted the Framework for Action. The Framework spells out the priorities for Global March members- trade unions, teacher unions and civil society organisations and calls on governments and the other stakeholder  groups in agriculture – agricultural producer organisations, cooperatives, intergovernmental organisations and agencies, nongovernmental organisation, companies and multinational enterprises – to increase their efforts to eliminate child labour in work places and supply chains.   

Some of the key actions which Global March members and partners committed to in the framework are:

  • Bringing farmers and their organisation and agriculture cooperative producers fully into the worldwide movement against child labour so that they can be encouraged and supported in their efforts to stop using child labour on their farms.
  • Combating the use of child labour in agriculture supply chains by working with trade unions and cooperation’s to help agriculture producers in the supply chain.
  • By working with teachers organisations etc to ensure that there are enough schools and trained and well paid teachers in rural areas so that girls and boys living there can go to school and are properly educated.
  • Work with farmers to improve health and safety condition on their farms to reduce accidents, ill health; and to ensure that youth who are of legal age for employment in their country can work on the farms under decent conditions.
  • To find ways to make agriculture more attractive to youth (of legal age for employment ), better paid , safer and healthier work so that youth sees  working in agriculture as worthwhile and not as they often see it as – dirty , dangerous and dead-end.
  • To engage with campaigns and organisations advocating for the right to food to include child labour elimination as a key indicator of the right to food.