LISTENING To SMALLER VOICES: CHILDREN IN AN ENVIRONMENT OF CHANGE Victoria Johnson, Joanna Hill and Edda Ivan-Smith-ACTIONAID, London-£ 8
THIS is a development report based on a major study with intensive field work carried out mainly in the neighbouring Nepal's Sindhuli district - the culmination of 2 years' work. The report draws also In many on similar work labour conducted Gambia. In add - tion, the report, which was presented at a special symposium organised in London in March 1995 coinciding with the fifth anniversary year of the World Summit for Children, puts forward many rich experiences and findings of the work with children undertaken in Kenya, Uganda, Ecuador, Peru and nearer home in Bangladesh and Pakistan. The report also draws on the experience in India where ACTIONAID has been actively working for the past 2 decades for the cause of children.
The report - presented in 6 well-defined sections - brings out the disparity in the status of children in different countries. For instance, in the UK it is illegal to leave infants in the care of juveniles under the age of 14. But in Peru, many 6-14 year olds are in fact the main wage earners for their families, and in Bangladesh, 5-14 years- olds comprised 18 per cent of the total labour force in 1989.
The study also refers to the plight of over 45,000 children employed in match box factories near Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, a situation which is now repeating itself in, Rohtak (Haryana), Jwalapuri (Delhi) and else-where in the country without niuch notice or concern. The stddy goes on to suggest 6 steps to improve children's quality of life through education, awareness, involvement, better employment conditions and alternative opportunities.
The report addresses policy and decision makers and of course those involved and interested in the issues of what the Brundlandt Commission in its report Our Common Future and the UN agencies now refer to as Sustainable development. The report is a fine blend and essence of the situations in the 3 continents it covers.
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