On 5 October, the ‘Declaración de Managua Hacia Zonas Libres de Trabajo Infantil’ was approved unanimously at the Regional Conference on Child Labour Free Zones in Managua, Nicaragua that was organised by the Hivos Stop Child Labour campaign in close cooperation with the National Twinning Council Netherlands – Nicaragua (LBSNN) and our local partner Fodel. The Declaration was approved by delegates from the following countries in Central America: Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, representatives of NGOs, trade unions, governments, international organisations and private sector.
The Managua Declaration is based on the Kampala Declaration that was approved earlier this year. It has been adapted to the context of the region, but reflects the same strong commitment of all actors to work together towards strengthening and expanding Child Labour Free Zones.
In Nicaragua, there is promising engagement of the private sector. Partners already declared one coffee plantation (Finca la Cumplida) a Child Labour Free. The Stop Child Labour campaign visited them on 4 October to hear about the initiatives implemented by the owners together with local organisations to offer alternatives for the children of adult workers. These children are no longer going to work in the field, but are now involved in so-called summer camps, where they enjoy educational and extracurricular activities that enable them to keep up with their school work and enter the next class when they return to their homesteads after the harvest season. In general, there seems to be an enabling environment in Nicaragua to work towards ‘Zonas Libres de Trabajo Infantil’ (Child Labour Free Zones). The other Central American countries are also enthusiastic and motivated to establish a regional network to work towards creating more Child Labour Free Zones.
The Hivos Stop Child Labour campaign presented both the ‘Kampala Declaration Working towards Child Labour Free Zones’ and the ‘Declaración de Managua Hacia Zonas Libres de Trabajo Infantil’ during the III Global Conference on Child Labour in Brazil from 8 to10 October. The Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation was full of praise for the successful model of CLFZs and referred to the Kampala Declaration in her speech at the Conference.