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International Partnerships

Share a song and inspire change to end child labour

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This year is the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour which calls on all of us to carry out activities aimed at raising awareness of the importance of the eradication of child labour, and to share best practices.

One such activity has just been launched. The Music Against Child Labour Competition calls on the world's musicians, both professional and amateur, to create a song to raise awareness and inspire action on ending child labour. The competition aims to harness the power of music to help combat child labour, which affects millions of children worldwide.

The competition is being organised by the “The Music Against Child Labour Initiative” with the support of the EU funded CLEAR Cotton project and the global music NGO, Jeunesses Musicales International.

Every child deserves a peaceful and secure childhood and the chance to go to school. This is still being denied to 152 million children around the world who are engaged in child labour. Half of these are suffering the worst forms of child labour.

Child in cotton field, Sudan.
Child in cotton field, Sudan. Credit: ILO

There are two ILO Conventions on child labour, Convention No.138 on Minimum Age and Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, which oblige all countries to abolish child labour. With the historic agreement on the 2030 Agenda, all countries have committed to ending child labour in all its forms by 2025, and it is included in SDG target 8.7. However, despite progress made since 2000, the positive trend towards the elimination of child labour may be reversing due to effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, putting the goal of eradicating this scourge in jeopardy.

© EU

Your chance to write a life-changing song!

Participating in the competition is an opportunity to raise awareness about child labour and the importance of music and creativity in the lives of children. Contributions can be from any musical genre - soul, hip-hop, folk, jazz, rock, tango, classical or any other style!

The competition has three different categories: grassroots, global or clear cotton, and there are prizes for the winners and the winning songs will be promoted through the international year’s campaign.

Submissions from all musicians, both professional or amateur, are welcome!

Watch the video on the competition here and watch the dedication to the music initiative from Sri Lankan artist Ridma Weerawardena here.

The EU in Ghana, through the EU supported Ghana Employment and Social Protection Programme, organised a #SongAgainstChildLabour competition at the end of last year. There were 25 song entries and the winner was Kwame and Kpodo. Read about the announcement here and listen to the winning song here. The song will accompany the campaign in support of the 2021 International Year against Child Labour.

How to enter?

Write and record an original song that inspires action on the theme of child labour. The song can be in any language (only send a translation in English, French or Spanish, if it is not in one of these languages).

Find out more about the competition here and enter your song here.

The deadline for submissions are 12 April 2021.

Additional resources:

  • Webpage on the Music Against Child Labour music competition here.
  • Music Against Child Labour music competition leaflet here.
  • International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour website
  • Watch the launch event of the International Year on 21 January 2021 here.
  • Find out more about the ILO Conventions on child labour and their recommendations here.
  • Read an EU article on the launch of the International Year here.
  • More information on the EU-funded project CLEAR Cotton here and a project fact sheet here.
  • Read more about the European Commission’s department for International Partnerships work on culture here.