Makerere University academic staff Pamela Shiellah Kwikiriza has been awarded a certificate of excellence for writing the best thesis in the Division of International Studies at Ewha Woman’s University, South Korea, where she was pursuing her Master’s Degree in International Studies, majoring in Women and Development. She researched on the “Impact of Trade Liberalization on Child Labour in Uganda’s Commercial Agricultural Sector”. Ms Kwikiriza is an assistant lecturer at the School of Women and Gender Studies.
Her study analyses the nature and extent of child labour in Uganda’s Commercial agricultural sector, attributing its persistence to trade liberalization as a form of globalization. She argues that trade liberalization has increased competition on the global market, which has over time affected the prices of agricultural produce exported from Uganda. This, she says, has reduced profits for employers in the commercial agricultural sector forcing them to lower employee wages. She argues that this has increased household poverty, making many children prone to hazardous work. According to National Labour Force and Child Activities Survey 2011/12 report released by Uganda Bureau of Statistics in September 2013, two million out of the 18 million children in Uganda are engaged in child labour.
Ms Kwikiriza advises that if child labour in the commercial agricultural sector is to be minimised or eliminated, government should raise and maintain a strict tariff plan on its trade policies especially on imported goods. She appeals for a minimum labour wage, noting that it is an important aspect that should not be dragged on any further. She also appeals to government to invest more funds into improving information technology that can keep farmers in the loop of developments on the international arena. She urges government to broaden the provisions stipulated under free universal education so that every child can have a chance to be in school.
Ms Kwikiriza was also recognized and awarded 500 US dollars for winning an essay writing competition amongst universities across South Korea. The students were tasked to write an essay on how to incoporate Korea's Development experiences in their countries' development process. Her topic of competition was; “How to Incorporate Korean Development Experience into Uganda’s Tertiary Sector”.
Ms. Kwikiriza was nominated to study at the South Korean University by the Dean of the School of Women and Gender Studies, Dr Consolata Kabonesa, and her former lecturer, Mr David Mpiima, following her excellent performance at undergraduate level. She was sponsored by the Korea International Cooperation Agency in Seoul, South Korea (KOICA). KOICA offers scholarships to bright students from developing countries to pursue Master’s Degree Programs in International Development that are aimed at nurturing talented students to enable them gain professional and systematic knowledge that can play a key role in their home country’s development.
Her dissertation will be published online in August this year. The hard copy is accessible in the office of the Dean of the School of Women and Gender Studies.