By Olufisoye Adenitan

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) through its Action Against Child Labour in Agriculture in West Africa, (ACLAWA), has trained selected media practitioners in Ondo State on Communication for Development on the Elimination of Child Labour.

The three days training was held in Akure, between Thursday 13th June and Saturday 15th June, 2024 and participants were drawn from different media organizations in the state.

Speaking, The Director of, the ILO Country Office For Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, And Liaison Office for ECOWAS, Vanessa Phala, represented the Program Manager of the ILO, ACLAWA Project, Dr. Kolawole Agatha, charged media professionals to be committed to investigating and reporting on child labor issues within the state and beyond. 

The Director said the workshop was aimed at building the capacity of media practitioners to support the advocacy in the fight against child labor. 

Dr Agatha explained that media plays a pivotal role in combating child labor by raising awareness and mobilizing public opinion against this disturbing issue and trend in society.

She urged them to continue to educate the public and policymakers about the burdens child laborers face and the danger to their mental health saying media coverage can pressure governments and corporations to implement and enforce stricter laws and policies to protect children from exploitation.

Dr Agatha said the media should amplify the voices of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), activists, and survivors of child labor, ensuring that their messages reach a broad audience, by highlighting successful interventions and stories of rescued children.  

Also speaking on the investigation and writing of human interest stories in the quest to eliminate child labor, The National information officer of the United Nations Information Centre, UNIC, Dr. Oluseyi Soremekun highlighted the skills and components of Investigative reporting to include credible sources, Data gathering, Undercover and protection of identities of underaged children as well as follow up to the stories.

Dr Soremekun encouraged journalists in the state to change the narrative on child labor reporting to build more conversation that will spur the government to intensify efforts towards eliminating child labor.

In an address, the Controller, Federal Ministry Of Labour And Employment in Ondo State, Mrs Olanike Mogboruko, emphasized that Child Labor was a scourge that affects millions of children worldwide, robbing them of their childhood, dignity and potential urging media practitioners to help  in shaping public opinion, influencing policies and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities.

She assured that the ministry would collaborate with relevant agencies to improved advocacy on child labour in Ondo state 

Addressing the participants,the Ondo NUJ chairman, Leke Adegbite who appreciated the efforts of the ILO through the ACLAWA project towards eradication of child labour in the country said the mass media have the capacity to help the key stakeholders in eliminating child labour in Ondo state.

Adegbite also urged media practitioners to give top priority to investigating and reporting child labor-related cases through their various platforms

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