T.U.U.T Charitable Trust funds trade union project on child labour

NSCAG News | on: Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Marion Colverd, General Manager, TU Fund Managers Limited, presenting Louise Richards from NSCAG with cheque during TUC Congress

Marion Colverd, General Manager, TU Fund Managers Limited, presenting Louise Richards from NSCAG with cheque during TUC Congress

The T.U.U.T. Charitable Trust has approved a grant of £5000 to fund a project submitted by the Self Employed Workers’ Union CTCP. The aim of the project is to address the problem of child labour in Nicaragua’s informal sector.

The T.U.U.T. Charitable Trust was set up by the trade union movement in 1969 for the sole purpose of owning TU Fund Managers Limited and subsequently TU Additions Limited and TU Financial Management Services Limited. The intention was – and still is – that profits distributed by the company should go to good causes rather than individual shareholders.

Children in Nicaragua suffer from disproportionate levels of poverty and extreme poverty, with a third of them forced to work in order to contribute to the survival of their families. This problem is particularly prevalent in the informal sector, where there are currently some 900 children and adolescents who work at bus stops and traffic lights in the Nicaraguan capital Managua. The work means that children are not having access to education and also means that they are working in very risky conditions. In terms of types of work, many children are working for their families without pay, often as labourers or in unskilled jobs. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas after Haiti and 70.4% of its children live in poor households, with 39.1% in households suffering extreme poverty. Many of the women who work in the informal sector are single mothers who need the additional income provided by their children and who lack the resources needed to ensure that their children can benefit from going to school.

The project will build on a successful campaign run by the union to raise awareness of the problem of child labour and it is intended also to raise further awareness among parents of the alternatives available to their children and the importance of education. Women members of the CTCP have established an informal crèche system, whereby union colleagues take care of children while other colleagues are at work, and it is hoped that this system can be further developed through the project.

The project will improve the life chances of some of the poorest children in society by giving them the opportunity to gain an education and the knowledge and skills which will enable them to look forward to a brighter future for themselves and their families. The project aims to break the cycle of extreme poverty which is all that some children have known.

The project will be delivered by the union through a series of capacity building sessions designed to encourage solidarity among informal sector workers and also encourage the engagement of workers in adopting actions to eliminate and prevent child labour. Workshops will show that there is an alternative vision and that child labour is a problem that needs to be addressed, rather than seeing it as something that is accepted as essential for a family’s income and survival.

Success of the project will be measured by looking at the percentage of children who attend school and the percentage of parents who are involved in the training. School retention rates will also be evaluated and further research will be carried out into how many children are then able to progress into further education, technical education and possibly university level education.

The project will be based initially in and around Managua, where the main problems exist, but it is hoped that it will serve as an example and a model for future projects in other areas.

We are extremely grateful to the TUUT Charitable Trust for agreeing to support this important project.

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