Child-labour and emotional disorders in an urban district, Ethiopia: A rapid assessment on community perception of child labour


  • Daniel Fekadu
  • Atalay Alem



Background: According to the ILO statistics, millions of children in the world work in hazardous and intolerable occupations. Many of these children are exposed to sexual, emotional and physical abuses and thereby become vulnerable to various childhood emotional and behavioural disorders. Objective:  To assess community awareness about child labour, its perceived causes, associated problems and means of tackling both.

Methods: One hundred and fifty eight individuals selected by convenience sampling method from different sectors of Addis Ketema District in Addis Ababa gave information about child labour through a self- administered questionnaire. The study took place from September to November 1997.

Results:  Eighty two per cent of the respondents perceived child labour as a social problem. Vending in the street, domestic work (working as housemaid) and work in low scale private enterprises were perceived as major areas of child labour. Eighty percent reported that child abuse is common among child labourers. Beating, neglect and emotional abuse were perceived as the most frequently occurring types of child abuse in child labour. Poverty alleviation in the families, provision of free education to children, raising awareness in the society, family planning, legislation and law enforcement were the major perceived areas of intervention to minimize child labour and associated problems.

Conclusion:  This study showed that the community has fairly good level of awareness about the existence of child labour, associated problems and its possible solutions. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2001;15(3):197-202]