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Story Highlights

  • Jamaica is to benefit from a major International Labour Organization (ILO) technical assistance project.
  • This will be done through national surveys and other interventions.
  • The ILO’s Global Research on Child Labour Measurement and Policy Development Project is a four-year US$7 million undertaking, which commenced in November 2013.

Jamaica is to benefit from a major International Labour Organization (ILO) technical assistance project, which is expected to strengthen the country’s ability to more accurately, capture, document and maintain current data on the occurrence of child labour.

This will be done through national surveys, and other interventions, conducted by relevant government departments and agencies.

The ILO’s Global Research on Child Labour Measurement and Policy Development Project, is a four-year US$7 million undertaking, which commenced in November 2013, and is being implemented through the organisation’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).

It will focus on: streamlining Jamaica’s data collection process and the production of a National Child Labour Survey Report; the development of an appraisal process focusing on policy requirements and social security issues; and capacity building, incorporating data analyses, among other key inputs.

The project will facilitate a second national survey on child labour in Jamaica, following a similar undertaking in 2002, from which the report will be generated.

Jamaica is one of 10 countries where the project will be implemented, and the first to be visited by ILO officials for discussions with government representatives pertaining to implementation.

The ILO’s Global Action Programme on Child Labour Project Director, Bijoy Raychaudhuri, and Principal Investigator/Project Director, Federico Blanco, arrived in the island on January 29 for a two-day working visit.

They met with several state agency officials over the two days, including the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

Director of the Ministry’s Child Labour Unit, Marva  Ximminnies,  who welcomed them at the Ministry on January 30, said Jamaica has been receiving  assistance from the ILO to deal with the issue of child labour since 2000, when both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalizing the partnership.

“A part of that MoU led us to the first national survey on child labour, which was done in 2002. At that time, it indicated that there were about 16,000 children engaged in various forms of labour in Jamaica. That also led to the establishment of the Child Labour Unit, which became a part of the institutional structure of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security,” she informed.

“We have withdrawn and we have rehabilitated children who were engaged and are still engaged in child labour. We have also worked to build capacity with our major stakeholders in the tripartite arrangement with the ILO, which sees us working very closely with the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF) and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU),” Mrs. Ximminnies outlined.

She informed that the Ministry and its partners are engaged in continuous development of the knowledge base on child labour in Jamaica, and in this context, stressed the importance and timeliness of the second national survey.

Meanwhile, Mr. Blanco said the project’s methodologies and other inputs are expected to have a significant and positive impact on how Jamaica’s national child labour surveys are conducted.

“We will be discussing the project’s details with STATIN. But it is important to have the involvement of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, as well as the establishment of a National Steering Committee Against Child Labour, because the more institutions that are involved, that are related to the protection of children… the better the result of the National Child Labour report,” he said.

Mr. Raychaudhuri, in his comments, pointed out that several developments have occurred in relation to child labour issues internationally, since Jamaica’s initial survey in 2002.

One of these, he highlighted, is a 2008 ILO resolution which sets out globally acceptable definitions of child labour and related issues.