Perspectives On Child Labor In Kenya: Case Of Malakisi Tobacco Farms, 2003 - 2010
This study seeks to understand the notion of child labour in African context- what it is, its manifestation and how the local community in Malakisi tobacco growing areas in Bungoma County perceive and understand it. This is a departure from most previous studies in Kenya that have largely conceptualized child labour from international standards. The study applies grounded theory to thematize the perspectives collected from local community about their views on child labour. The study utilizes a sample size of 152 respondents in various categories of sampled units including individual children, household heads, institutions (schools, administrative units and NGOs) and FGDs. The study argues that there is a conflict between the ways local community defines a child versus the definitions provided by international conventions. While local community views a child as a young person who has not undergone the rites of passage and been inducted into adulthood, international conventions define a child in terms of calendar years. The differences in the definitions have become challenges to the efforts towards eradicating child labour. The study found that majority of the respondents view child labour as a form of socialization, source of livelihood, source of social security and form of employment. While few of the respondents view child labour as economically exploitative and a situation that denies children privileges of childhood. The diversity in the definition of a “child” is influenced by socio economic factors at the household level and cultural expectation. Based on the extensive literature review and the study findings the recommendation is integration of local community’s values into public policy making processes that have implication on child labour.