Child labour remains a major threat to child development in Nigeria, in spite of legislative measures taken by the government at various levels to curb it. In 2018, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that 152 million children, aged five to seventeen were still in child labour globally. Also, in 2018, UNICEF reported that the prevalence of child labour is highest in sub-Saharan Africa while according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) says about 50.8 percent of Nigerian children are involved in child labour. It is disheartening to see children of school age in my community hawking food on the streets, fetching water for commercial purpose, harvesting crops in family farms or commercial plantations, amongst other activities.
Street hawking has adverse effect on children’s physical, social and psychological well-being; it exposes them to sexual and drug abuse, vehicle accidents, death, malnourishment and sometimes, prostitution. Poverty and worsening economic situation in the country have forced many families to engage their children in these inhumane labour. However, while all these are discouraging, they serve as a call for me to make a significant change in the lives of child hawkers in my country. This consciousness motivates me to aspire undertaking postgraduate studies in International Education.At the completion of the course, I hope to have garnered enough exposure and acquired the skills set needed to address the issue of child labour in my community. Upon returning to Nigeria, I look forward to using my newly acquired knowledge to start my NGO “No Child Hawker Initiative” whose objectives would be to enroll street child hawkers in school where they will acquire both cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
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The goal of the initiative would be to reduce the number of child street hawkers across the nation via a process that identifies and extracts child hawkers from all circles of child labor through the provision of educational grants which will give them access to quality education, take them off the street and avail them brighter future prospect. Also, we shall strategically empower their parents or guardians towards avoiding a regress to street hawking. The impact will be to support these children who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the investment through provision of educational support materials, instructional materials and psycho-social support, finance and free empowerment programme.
The first project would kick off in my community in which we would work towards ensuring schooling of a hundred child street workers and at the same time empowering their parents and guardians to help them live sustainable lives. All these I would execute in collaboration with the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) and UNESCO. I hope to achieve this by 2030.On my part, I shall consistently provide accurate information that will aid in assessing the impact I am making towards development in my home country via email to UK Department for International Development (DFID) through my publication in local and international journals.
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