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Keeping children safe from working in gold mines

POSTED December 27, 2017

Keeping children safe from working in gold mines

Together with humanitarian partners, we are preventing child labour in north Burkina Faso

By Patrice Zongo, communications manager, Burkina Faso

Child labour mines BF

It’s unsettling to see children working in traditional gold mines in north Burkina Faso. It happens too frequently. But, today I’m heartened by a project addressing the issue.

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada in partnership with EDUCO, a fellow member of the ChildFund Alliance — which includes 11 child-focused international development organizations — is implementing a European Union-funded project in north Burkina to prevent children from working in mines.

This comes as a recent Burkinabe government study reveals 30.1 percent of children work permanently in gold mines in north Burkina Faso — 52.2 percent work at least eight hours per day and 73 percent work at least six days per week.

The children say they work in the mines to provide for their family, due to household poverty or to help their parents who already work in the mines.

Aside from the danger associated with the work, children are exposed to violence and abuse. They also can’t go to school if they work, which jeopardizes their future.

We’re working with EDUCO to target the root causes of child labour in north Burkina Faso and provide solutions.

We aim to reduce household poverty by bringing women together to develop a village-savings-and-loans program. And, it’s encouraging to see them already embracing the initiative with enthusiasm.

We won’t ignore this problem, and we will keep talking about it. We did that recently at a roundtable discussion in Burkina between research and university institutions as well as several humanitarian organizations. Our goal is to work with others to ensure children go to school, rather than toil in a gold mine.

To learn more about CCFC’s work to end child labour, stay tuned to our latest stories from the countries where we’re working with children, families and communities to create positive, lasting change.

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