Uganda: tackling child labour in a fragile region – a Social Risk Assessment
2017, Minerva SRM was contracted by an international human rights foundation to conduct a Social Risk Assessment centred on child labour in Hoima District, Uganda. The area displays several fragility characteristics and potential for conflict, which the Foundation was eager to ameliorate or, at worst, not to exacerbate in the course of its activities. Minerva’s team comprised two UK-based consultants with prior East Africa experience, as well as one full-time Ugandan associate.
In order to map properly the complex social, political and economic structures and dynamics surrounding child labour in the District, the team not only collected data about its proximate causes, but also investigated the impact of wider and longer-run influences, such as migration, the nascent oil industry, regional and civil conflict, culture and demography.
A causal loop diagram was developed to characterise the socio-political space in which child labour exists in the district. This captured and laid bare a very broad set of factors and contexts affecting child labour dynamics, many of which had not initially been expected, observable or well understood. And it provided a backdrop against which existing and prospective interventions could be assessed for their likely systemic impacts on child labour. Given the Foundation’s operational requirements and the rapid socio-political changes evident in the district, a five-year outlook was selected as the most appropriate timeframe.
The resulting report was framed to support the client in developing a long-term strategy and cost-effective multi-stakeholder interventions designed to better address the root causes of child labour in agriculture in the region. A year later, the Minerva team revisited Hoima in order to validate the findings, contribute to ongoing adjustments of the dynamic model and assist in rolling out the Foundation’s strategy at operational level.
Owing to the success of this pilot project, the Foundation envisages using this sort of SRA methodology in other areas where it currently works or anticipates working.