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Microsoft partnership fights child labour in DRC

child labourer in DRC
child labourer in DRC

From JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA – AN expanded partnership between Microsoft and Pact, the nongovernmental organisation, is poised to address child labor in mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
On Wednesday, Microsoft made a new, three-year financial commitment to support Pact’s work to address the problem.
This builds on the successful Watoto Inje ya Mungoti (Children Out of Mining) project.
Yves Bawa, Pact Director for DRC, Rwanda and Burundi, said Microsoft was one of their first partners on this issue.
“Its seed funding helped us achieve groundbreaking progress in the first two years of work,” said Bawa.
As part of the expansion, Pact and Microsoft will provide more direct support to children and adolescents and the local organizations that assist them.
Activities will include developing an apprenticeship programme for older adolescents, improving the capacity of local orphanages, assessing state child protection and welfare services, and supporting home-based daycare for younger children of miners.
This builds on the existing programme initiated in 2015.
It has created protective environments for children in areas associated with artisanal mining.
Joan Krajewski, General Manager of Safety, Compliance and Sustainability at Microsoft, said there was no place for child labor in the mining supply chain.
By expanding and deepening Microsoft’s partnership with Pact, the partners are making meaningful progress toward addressing the worst forms of child labour.
“Already, we’ve seen the difference these programs can make, and hope that our investment will encourage others to join in these scalable, replicable efforts,” said Krajewski.
Across DRC, it is estimated over 10 million people rely on income from artisanal and small-scale mining.
While children under 18 cannot legally work in the mines, the law is not widely observed for several economic and societal reasons. As a result, many children start working in mines at a young age.


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