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NGO Advocates Protection of Child Domestic Workers

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Kehinde Adeleye

 

 

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Mrs. Rita Ezenwa-Okoro, the Founder of Street Project Foundation (SPF), revealed findings from a recent study conducted by the Freedom Fund and NORC at the University of Chicago in February 2024.

 

The research showed that a concerning 88.9 percent of Child Domestic Workers (CDWs) reported experiencing working conditions that contravened the Nigerian Labour Act and Child Rights Act.

 

Ezenwa-Okoro shared this information during a press conference in Lagos, emphasizing the challenges faced by CDWs in Nigeria.

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According to Rita Ezenwa-Okoro, “As the World marks Children’s Day come May 27, note that one in three CDWs popularly referred to as ‘Omo Odo’ or house helps work more than 30 hours per week, and one in five work more than 42 hours per week making it difficult for them to pursue qualitative education and a healthy social life.”

 

She added that “three out of five house helps that are children have a kinship relationship with the household where they work, with those living with relatives less likely to receive a wage compared to those without such relationships.”

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Rita Ezenwa-Okoro further disclosed that “With funding support from the US Department of State and Freedom Fund, our NGO, Street Project Foundation has expanded its use of creative arts through the ARTvocacy movement to combat the exploitation and abuse of Child Domestic Workers (CDWs) to create a safer environment for vulnerable children.”

 

In her words, “By collaborating with the US Department of State, the Freedom Fund, the Devatop Centre for Africa Development, and the Centre for the Advancement and Protection of the Rights of Vulnerable People (Caprights-VP) we are working to protect CDWs in Lagos State with a pilot focus on sensitizing stakeholders in communities like Oworonsoki and Festac Town.”

 

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“We recently selected 25 talented youth from the Oworonshoki community and conducted a three-week non-residential boot camp where they were trained by child-protection experts. With insights about the plights of former Child Domestic Workers from their collective, they co-created a community theatre production titled ‘Omo Odo’ to raise awareness and sensitize Nigerians on the increasing abuse and maltreatment of CDWs.”

 

In her contribution, Eduvielawhe Olutimayin, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Street Project Foundation stated “The Nigerian media needs to set an agenda and cast a light on the plight of CDWs who are vulnerable and often invisible.”

 

Eduvielawhe Olutimayin noted that “the media should drive meaningful change and help to create a safer, more equitable future for all children in our nation“ she noted.

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Personalities present at the event include Mr Ezenwa Okoro, Program Director and Consultant, Street Project Foundation; Chika Nwabeke, Program Advisor, Freedom Fund; Labour Expert, Mrs. Khadijat Emmanuel; Mr Kunle Sanni, National Coordinator, Child Protection Network and Mr Olalekan Otun, Rotary International District 9111 Chairman Public Image.

 

If you know any child that is a house help being abused or/and exploited, visit these websites and make a report: https://reportcde.caprightsvp.org/report www.talkam.app.

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