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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04LILONGWE696
2004-07-23 10:11:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Lilongwe
Cable title:  

CHILD LABOR REMAINS AN ISSUE IN MALAWI

Tags:   ELAB  EIND  ETRD  PHUM  SOCI  EAID  MI 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LILONGWE 000696 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI EAID MI
SUBJECT: CHILD LABOR REMAINS AN ISSUE IN MALAWI

REF: STATE 148987

SUMMARY
-------
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LILONGWE 000696

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI EAID MI
SUBJECT: CHILD LABOR REMAINS AN ISSUE IN MALAWI

REF: STATE 148987

SUMMARY
--------------

1. One-third of Malawian children aged five to
seventeen are involved in child labor, according to the
Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training's recently
released Malawi Child Labour 2002 Report. The report,
funded by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL)
through the International Labour Organization (IOL),
demonstrates that: 72 percent of children attend school;
84 percent of children are employed; and of those
employed, 47 percent are employed under the survey's
definition of child labor. Also included in the report
are Street Children and Child Prostitution studies,
which focus on the socio-economic factors involved in
the children's situation. Without quantifying the
number of street children or child prostitutes, both
surveys found that a majority of street kids and
children in sex trade had lost one or both parents. END
SUMMARY

Child Population of Malawi
--------------

2. The Malawi Child Labor Survey (MCLS) was carried out
through a representative sample of 8,000 households.
From these interviews, it was determined that there are
approximately 3.8 million children in Malawi between the
ages five and seventeen and that these children account
for 34 percent of Malawi's total population. Although
2.7 million children (72 percent) reported being
enrolled in school, the survey estimated that 3.2
million children (84 percent) were working either in
their homes or outside of their homes in both economic
and non-economic activities during the twelve months
preceding the survey.

Child Labor
--------------

3. The MCLS defines child labour as: "Working children
below the age of 14 years who worked for more than seven
hours in the reference week and working children between
the ages of five and seventeen, were categorized as
child labour if they were working in agriculture."
Using this definition, the survey found that around 1.4
million children in Malawi are employed in child labor,

representing 37 percent of the total five to seventeen
child population.

Children in Economic and Non-Economic Activities
-------------- ---

4. Out of the 3.2 million working children, the survey
found 1.5 million to be working in economic activities.
The MCLS defines economic activity as working for pay,
either in-cash or in-kind, or engagement in family
activities without pay, such as farming or hunting. An
additional 1.7 million children (53 percent of working
children) were working in only housekeeping capacities.
The MCLS defines non-economic activity as activities of
a domestic nature and also voluntary and charitable
activities.

Street Kids Survey
--------------

5. The Street Kids Survey was conducted in 2003 and used
a sample population of 396 street children. Of the
street children interviewed, 93 percent were male, and
51 percent had at least one deceased parent. The survey
found that around 56 percent of street children's
mothers were unemployed, but were capable of working.
Fewer than four percent reported their mothers to be
employed.


6. The survey also found approximately four percent of
street children had worked, or been looking for work, in
the week prior to being surveyed.

Child Prostitutes Survey
--------------

7. The Children in Commercial Sexual Exploitation Survey
(CSECS) was conducted in 2003 with a sample of 549
children involved in sex work. Of the children
surveyed, approximately 85 percent were between the ages
of fifteen and seventeen and approximately 87 percent
had been in the sex trade for less than two years.


8. 49 percent of the children surveyed had lost both
parents, and approximately 60 percent had lost a mother.
Around 24 percent of the children in commercial sex work
also had a mother who was unemployed, but capable of
working. Fewer than nine percent of the children had
employed mothers.


9. The survey also found that nine percent of children
in commercial sex work were attending school. Of the
children surveyed who were not attending school, 72
percent had dropped out, while 18 percent had never
attended school.

Background
--------------

10. Child labor in Malawi came to the attention of the
international community in 2000, when a report on
Tobacco Tenants in Malawi acknowledged widespread child
labor practices. The MCLS was conducted to provide
quantitative data on children's activities (economic and
non-economic) to determine the nature, magnitude, and
reasons for child labor and the subsequent effect of
such labor on a child's education, health, and moral
development. USDOL provided financial support for this
survey through the ILO.

COMMENT
--------------

11. While there are deficiencies with the statistical
analysis of this report, it does provide a more
quantitative look at the issue. Recognizing the
continuing problem of child labor in various sectors,
post welcomes Malawi's inclusion in the Department of
Labor's International Child Labor Program Education
Initiative (reftel).


RASPOLIC