Building and Wood
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The joint child labour projects evaluation workshop (a biennial event) took place from 26-27 February 2011 at Jodhpur in the western state of India - Rajasthan where Leaders, Teachers and Union Organisers / Mobilisers from ten participating unions in India and Nepal along with the representatives of SSOs from Netherlands (FNV & CL.NL), Finland (SASK), Canada (CLC), Denmark (BAT-KARTEL), Australia (CLSC) and Germany (IGBAU) and also representative(s) from LOFTF, India Committee of Netherlands (ICN), Danish Teachers Union took part.
The two-day workshop proceedings were anchored by a former child labourer (now a Head-Teacher at the residential school in Bihar State) Sis. Phulmani. The Workshop stressed on the importance of the project as an overall organising tool with the key aim to strengthen the trade unions in the South Asian region to realise the rights of the workers alongside eliminating the problem of child labour in the sub-region known for a high incidence of child labour. In the opening address, Bro. Kaluram Bhati (General Secretary, JJPKMS) of the host union extended warm welcome to all the delegates to his working area. Bro. Tos Anonuevo (Education Secretary, BWI) in his keynote address highlighted the impact and outputs that the project has brought about but also the challenges that remain – one of the key concerns remain overall strengthening of the trade unions, their collective bargaining power and the financial capacity. Sis. Wilma Roos (FNV Mondiaal) expressed support on the behalf of SSOs and called upon the responsibility of all stakeholders in addressing the problem of child labour not just restricted to the production site(s) - the responsibility as consumers to stress on products certified and produced without the use of child labour.
The workshop also deliberated on the Right to Education and UN MDGs (the role of trade unions in changing and influencing Government policy and programmes) in India and Nepal. This was followed by detailed Union activity reports for the period of 2009-2010. Later in the day, major findings that emerged from the FNV external evaluation in the year 2010 were presented by Dr. E.A. Ramaswamy who was part of evaluation team - the key points highlighted the viable strategies utilised by the unions in the project to reach out to the workers and address the issue of child labour and also the need for the unions to gradually pressurize the Central and State Government(s) for providing education to all children and work towards increasing their workplace representation and directly negotiating for realising the rights of the workers. Bro. Tore Asmussen (Danish Teachers Union) presented his observations on the Child Labour Project vis-à-vis quality schooling.
During the latter half of the day - a field visit was undertaken to inaugurate the newly developed infrastructure for the CL.NL supported preparatory-cum-medical centre surrounded by stone quarries and located at Village Panchkuda, Mandor Block, Jodhpur. The day concluded with an exhibit of a documentary film on Child Labour (produced with support from CLC and CIDA) at the solidarity dinner co-hosted by the local union JJPKMS.
The concluding day heard the `voices from the field’ – the child labour school teachers, Union Organisers / Mobilisers and the Vocational Trainers. Later focusing on strategising the future – the workshop discussed on the possible directions on Schooling; Organising & Campaigning; and Government Cooperation and Sustainability in groups comprising of teachers; Organisers/Mobilisers and Union Leaders respectively. The BWI presented its report and over-all assessment – also capturing the observations made in the external evaluation report presented on the Day 1. The SSOs also presented their observations and suggestions to the Unions as guiding points for the future. Bro. Apolinar Tolentino, BWI Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific highlighted the need to bring changes in the project strategy and also take into account the needs of migrant workers and their families. The concluding remarks were delivered Sis. Monique Charron (CLC) who expressed appreciation and support for the BWI initiative(s).