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Tackling child labour in gold mines

Tdh has established an app to collect data on working children and identify violations of these children’s rights in the gold mines of Gazourgou. This tool helps support children at risk and trigger positive change by informing political decision makers.

Child exploitation is widespread in the gold extraction sector. Tdh’s headquarters are based in Switzerland, a country through which 70% of the world’s gold transits. We have a moral duty to protect children who work long shifts in dangerous conditions to extract this precious metal in Burkina Faso. Therefore, Tdh has developed a mobile app to identify any violations of these children's rights.

With more than 600 gold mining sites in Burkina Faso, protection issues such as child labour, which now represents more than 30% of the work force, are beyond state control. We developed our mobile app in Ganzourgou, one of the country's most mining-intensive regions.

An application to warn about problems children encounter in mines

Our mobile phone app helps community agents present in the mining sites of Pousghin, Nobsin, Kagtanga and Kiètenga to gather information on children’s living and working conditions. The app has an integrated early warning system, which instantly informs key local actors such as social and health workers, as well as the police via text message. Thanks to this, they are able to evaluate the situations of children who had accidents, fell ill, experienced violence or moved to another location, and follow up on them. By working with local social services to protect children, we have achieved the base of a sustainable impact.

A viable data collection

In 2017, 2000 children were identified in the four mining sites where we are present, 1800 of whom were engaged in gold washing or digging. The average age of working children is 13 and more than 53% of them do not attend school. Thanks to this app, we identified more than 300 children and helped them return to school,” explains Julienne Wanré, our Protection Programme Officer in Burkina Faso. Being able to present this data to political decision-makers strengthens the argument for change. A workshop with political actors will be launched in 2018.

 

 

“I work here to help my mother since my father is disabled.”

Issa, child labourer in gold mines in Burkina Faso

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