Exploring the Impacts of Child Labor on the Life of Working Children in Adama Town with Particular Emphasis on Children Working in One Haricot Beans Warehouse

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Date

2009-06

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Addis Ababa University

Abstract

Child labor is a widesp read problem in the wo rld today. However, the m agn itud e of th e problem is s ig nificantl y high in deve loping countries. Though there is a large bo d y of empirical researc h in many co untri es to sho w th e n egati ve influence of child labor on social lea llling, cogniti ve functioning, perso na lit y development, an d se l f- estee m of the individu al children, ve ry littl e is known about the effects of c hild labor on the psyc hosoc ia l a nd eco no mic life of the workin g children in Ethiopia . Hence, thi s study was und ert aken to explore how child labor is harmfid to young female children in tenns of their economic and psychosocia l life. In li ght of thi s obj ective, 12 fe ma le ch ildren w ho were wo rking in one hari cot beans w arehouse in Ad ama tow n wer e in vo lve d in thi s study. Qualitative method of data co ll ect ion was e mployed in the stud y. The qu alit ati ve dat a was s uppl e mented from focus group di scuss ion parti cip a nts a nd key info rm ants . The study is descriptive in its n ature. The fi nd ing of th is stud y revea led the negati ve imp ac ts of work on th e ch ildren's socio-eco no m ic and psyc hosocial li fe. The stud y reveale d that whil e 6 o ut of 12 respo nd e nts we re s ufferin g fi·om considerabl y low 'Psyc hosocia l and econo mi c li fe, 5 of them manifested serious psychosocia l and econo mi c cri ses . However, o n e of th em was stabl e in that respect. In thi s in stance, almost a ll of th em n eed professiona l intervention to improve th eir well-being. In this stud y, th e b asic m atters as to what cons titutes c hild labor, what ca uses it, how it affects ch ildren and society and how best to d eal with it are d escrib ed in terms of fo ur th eo retic a l p erspec tives ( i.e., the hum an capital , th e labor m arket, the socia l responsibilit y and the chi ld-cen tered). H owever, th e study affirmed the human cap ita l perspective to exp lain povel1 y as a m aj or pu s h facto r that forc ed th e ch il dren to ente r the labor force. In simil ar vei n, thi s st ud y has empl oyed a ch ild-centered perspective to suggest that chi ldren should b e pro v id e d with a stable and nurturing e nvironm ent if the intenti on is to help them to g row and become self-s uffic ie nt adults in soc iety. To thi s end, the stud y provides a numb er of appro ac h es and suggestions useful to undertake profess ion al intervention s to address c hild lab or in general an d the sampl e childre n' s prob lems in partic ular. T he valu es a nd skill s of social workers w ith special re leva nc e to c h ild la borers in the Eth iopian context are also outl in ed brie fly.

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Child labor is a widesp read problem

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