Teaching materials on child labor for secondary levels I and II



Imagine having to work on cocoa or coffee plantations every day for little money to avoid starvation. Or you are employed in the extraction of precious stones or gold, where you spend hours digging tunnels and are exposed to a high risk of accidents. On the African continent, this is the reality for over 92 million girls and boys, that is one in five children. The module provides an overview of child labor in Africa. It focuses in particular on the connection between education and child labor and on the products on German supermarket shelves, for which many children often risk their lives.

Worksheets and background text

Our teaching materials consist of a comprehensive introductory text, worksheets with tasks and questions, a role model showing options of agency and a project example from Africa. Thanks to the modules, teachers can easily plan lessons regarding the topics.

The modules can be used in various situations. Since they contain further information and links, they help students to research more on the specific topic independently.

Recommended subjects:

  • English
  • Social and political sciences
  • Ethics
  • Geography

But all teaching materials can be used interdisciplinary, too.

Introductory text (excerpt from the module)

Child labour worldwide

Child labour refers to any kind of work performed by minors – with negative consequences for their mental, social and health development and associated with violations of their fundamental rights to education, health, protection and participation. It includes not only exploitative or hazardous work but also extremely hard work in a family environment.

Worldwide, 160 million children are involved in child labour. That is one in ten children. A quarter of these children are between the ages of five and eleven. The main reason is poverty: Families cannot afford to send their children to school, and girls and boys have to contribute to the family income. Children who live alone without any support have to work for money to avoid starvation.

The situation in Africa

Children on the African continent are particularly affected. Nowhere else do so many children – 92 million girls and boys – have to work, often in exploitative conditions. That is one in five children. This means Every fifth girl and boy in Africa is deprived of the chance of a regular school education, a self-determined future and a carefree childhood. The Covid-19 pandemic also led to an increase here due to school closures.

Most of the children (70%) work in agriculture. They are used, for example, in the coffee, cocoa and cotton harvests or the production of palm oil, in floriculture or in the transport of heavy banana plants. The remaining 10 per cent (10.3 per cent) work under difficult conditions in industry, construction, the mining of coltan, copper and cobalt for computers, mobile phones and batteries, or in the extraction of gold and precious stones. Children are also employed in the services sector (19.7%). They work as domestic servants, in the drug trade or as prostitutes. One of the worst forms of child labour is life as a child soldier, a fate that affects hundreds of thousands of children worldwide.

The consequences of this work are immense. Girls and boys suffer psychological and physical damage, trauma, physical injury and even mutilation…

Download the module to read the full text and get access to the worksheets.

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