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Aug 7, 2018

Survey shows that youth in Sugarcane producing villages want better quality of life!

What is the quality of life like for children and youth in the sugar-producing communities in the north? The findings of a new study show that young people are concerned about their safety and the lack of economic opportunities. The Government, in partnership with the European Union’s Accompanying Measures for Sugar programme, commissioned the study for a strategy to be developed to serve as a road map to address the issues in the northern villages. Between March 2017 and July 2018, two consulting firms, including the Child Development Foundation (CDF) conducted a survey using three data collection input, including a mapping exercise in sixteen villages in which one thousand two hundred and fifty nine participants were surveyed.  Diana Shaw of CDF was one of the consultants on the project. Today she presented the findings and made recommendations based on the data gathered on child labour in Belize’s sugar industry.


Diana Shaw, Consultant

Diana Shaw

“The first one that they indicated was that alcohol was being sold by unlicensed premises and also alcohol  being sold to minors and the sale of alcohol to minors and the sale of alcohol and the prevalence of drunkenness was the number one safety issue for children in the community. The second issue of safety was the sale of drugs and contraband. They indicated that the sale of marijuana and other drugs was the second highest safety risk for children because it was consumed primarily in public spaces where children would play such as parks and sometimes in the evenings on the compounds of schools where children would want to go and so this restricted the actions of children in the communities. They also indicated, the third safety concern, was the highway, roads, lack of speed bumps and lack of signs that warn of the speed limit in the communities especially communities where main roads run though the communities or where roads were near to schools. They came together and identified the top three safety issues and the top three recommendations for their communities. In relation to the sale alcohol, they ask for more regulation of establishments that sold alcohol. Places that were not licensed, they mentioned a number of private homes where people were selling contraband alcohol. They ask for more enforcement of laws to crack down on those places and then for signs to place on shops and grocery stores prohibiting sale of alcohol to minors and for the local enforcement – police and village council to police and monitor those premises to ensure that people didn’t consume alcohol on the outside of shops where children were likely to come in contact with drunks. The second component was the household survey that surveyed one hundred and sixty one households and also one youth and one child from each of those households. A total of four hundred and seventy-seven persons participated in that activity and ten communities were polled in the household survey. The survey tool included questions about the economic activities of children, schooling, participation of children in household chores, when children did chores, when they worked, where they worked, their future career goals and also parents’ perceptions of why children work and whether children should work. And from that we had some findings that came out as we shared today of children’s engagement of economic activity. Twenty three children were identified in child labour situation during that process and those children were documents and the reports were forwarded to the department of human services.”

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