Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July 2014, 13:56 GMT

2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Namibia

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 April 2004
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Namibia, 29 April 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8ca271b.html [accessed 25 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government of Namibia is an associated country of ILO-IPEC.[3069] The Government of Namibia collaborated with ILO-IPEC and UNICEF on a national child labor survey in 1999.[3070] In 2001, the tripartite Labor Advisory Council, comprised of government, union, and private sector representatives, sponsored a series of awareness-raising workshops on child labor regulations for employers.[3071] Police and immigration officials received training in combating trafficking in persons in 2001.[3072] The Ministry of Health and Social Services is running a Street Children Program that seeks to place street children in shelters and register their parents in income-generating programs.[3073] The Ministry of Women's Affairs and Child Welfare works with USAID to build community capacity to assist orphans and vulnerable children.[3074] The National Planning Commission will conduct a national census on orphans.[3075] In addition, the government is planning an Orphan and Vulnerable Children Fund, financed by a tax on the population. The Ministry of Women Affairs and Child Welfare will be responsible for finding foster parents for child-headed houses.[3076]

The Ministry of Basic Education, Sport, and Culture is building and renovating school facilities, and working to improve access to basic education for children from marginalized groups. Specific efforts include the creation of community-based curricula, mobile schools, and school feeding programs.[3077]

UNICEF's country program for the 2002-2005 cycle includes a focus on children's health, care, and development.[3078] It also provides more educational opportunities for girls from marginalized groups.[3079]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2001, the ILO estimated that 16.5 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Namibia were working.[3080] Approximately 95.4 percent of working children live in rural areas, with 77.8 percent of those children working in agriculture, hunting, and forestry.[3081] Child work is almost entirely a rural phenomenon in Namibia.[3082]

Education is compulsory in Namibia. Children are required to be in school until they complete their primary education or until the age of 16.[3083] Although the Constitution mandates that primary education shall be free, in practice there are numerous fees for such items as uniforms, books, and school improvements that prevent some poor children from attending school.[3084] In 2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was 112.2 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 81.6 percent.[3085] Attendance rates for Namibia are not available. While enrollment rates reflecta level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.[3086] In 1999, 92.3 percent of children enrolled in primary school reached grade 5.[3087]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Act sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years. The Act also prohibits the employment of children under the age of 15in any mine, industrial, or construction setting, and prohibits children under the age of 16 from working underground and children under the age of 18 from engaging in night work.[3088] The Constitution provides that children under 16 are entitled to be protected from economic exploitation and are not to be employed or required to perform work that is likely to be hazardous, harmful to their health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development, or to interfere with their education.[3089]

The Constitution prohibits slavery and forced labor, but does not specifically prohibit child trafficking.[3090]

The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing the Labor Act.[3091] In the past year, the Ministry has hired more inspectors and also revised inspection checklists to include inquiries of child labor.[3092]

The Government of Namibia ratified ILO Convention 138 and ILO Convention 182 on November 15, 2000.[3093]


[3069] All About IPEC: Programme Countries, ILO, [online] [cited August 29, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/countries/t_country.htm.

[3070] Government of the Republic of Namibia, Namibia Child Activities Survey 1999: Report of Analysis, Ministry of Labour, Windhoek, December 2000, iv; available from http://www.ilo.org./public/english/standards/ipec/simpoc/namibia/report/namibia.pdf.

[3071] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002: Namibia, Washington, D.C., March 31, 2003, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18218.htm.

[3072] Ibid., Section 6f.

[3073] ILO, The Effective Abolition of Child Labour: Review of Annual Reports under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, GB.280/3/2, Geneva, March 2001; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/gb/docs/gb280/pdf/gb-3-2-abol.pdf.

[3074] USAID, Country Profile: Namibia, [online] November, 2002 [cited June 10, 2003]; available from http://www.usaid.gov/pop_health/aids/Countries/africa/namibia_profile.pdf.

[3075] Christof Maletsky, "'Orphan tax' on the cards," The Namibian, December 17, 2002; available from http://www.namibian.com/na/2002/December/national/02A1AD14DD.html.

[3076] Ibid.

[3077] Government of the Republic of Namibia, Ministry of Basic Education, Sport, and Culture, A Decade of Peace, Democracy and Prosperity 1990-2000, [online] [cited June 10, 2003]; available from http://www.op.gov.na/Decade_peace/b_edu.htm.

[3078] Government of Namibia/UNICEF Country Programme of Co-operation 2002-2005, UNICEF Nambia, [online] [cited June 4, 2003]; available from http://www.un.na/unicef/ctyprogramme.htm.

[3079] Girls' Education in Namibia, UNICEF, [online] [cited June 10, 2003]; available from http://www.unicef.org/programme/girlseducation/action/ed_profiles/Namibiafinal.PDF.

[3080] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2003. The Namibia Child Activities Survey 1999 found that 16.3 percent of children aged 6 to 18 years were working. See Government of the Republic of Namibia, Namibia Child Activities Survey 1999, 40.

[3081] Government of the Republic of Namibia, Namibia Child Activities Survey 1999, 5 and 48.

[3082] Ibid., 5.

[3083] Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, 1990, (February 1990), Chapter III, Article 20; available from http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/wa00000_.html.

[3084] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Namibia, Section 5. See also Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, 1990, Article 20.

[3085] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003. For an explanation of gross primary enrollment and/or attendance rates that are greater than 100 percent, please see the definitions of gross primary enrollment rate and gross primary attendance rate in the glossary of this report. As a consequence of the HIV-AIDS epidemic, government policymakers face a budgetary choice between training replacement teachers or using those resources to assist HIV-AIDS affected children to pay school fees. See U.S. Embassy-Windhoek, unclassified telegram no. 0315, April 2002.

[3086] For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

[3087] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003.

[3088] The Government of Namibia Labor Act of 1992, (March 13, 1992), Part V, Sections 34 and 42; available from http://natlex.ilo.org/txt/E92NAm01.htm.

[3089] Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, 1990, Article 15.

[3090] Ibid., Article 9. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Namibia, Section 6f.

[3091] ILO, The Effective Abolition of Child Labour, 322.

[3092] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2002: Namibia, Section 6d. See also ILO, The Effective Abolition of Child Labour, 322.

[3093] ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited June 4, 2003]; available from http://www.ilo.org/english/newratframeE.htm.

Search Refworld

Countries