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Song competition aims to inspire an end to child labour

Updated: Mar 24


Jeunesses Musicales International, International Labour Organization
Musicians of all genres are invited to submit a song to inspire governments and stakeholders to take action to eliminate child labour. PHOTO: ImageCollab

A song competition to mark the UN International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour was launched on 3 February by The Music Against Child Labour Initiative, which brings together musicians to raise awareness of child labour. Musicians of all genres are invited to submit a song to inspire governments and stakeholders to take action to eliminate child labour which affects around 152 million children worldwide.


The competition is being run Jeunesses Musicales International, a global youth music organization, with the International Labour Organization. While child labour has decreased by almost 40% over the last two decades, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse that progress and the initiative has two key aims of raising awareness of child labour through music and empowering children including children formerly in child labour through music.


Musicians can submit their competition entries to one of three categories including a global category for all artists, a grassroots category for music projects involving children affected by child labour and the CLEAR Cotton project category for national competitions run in Burkina Faso, Mali, Pakistan and Peru. This first edition of the song competition is taking place with the support of the CLEAR Cotton project.



This project is co-funded by the European Union and was implemented by the ILO and UN Food and Agriculture Organization. It supports the efforts of governments, social partners and cotton sector actors at national level, empowering communities and stakeholders to combat child and forced labour in the cotton, textile and garment value chains in Burkina Faso, Mali, Pakistan and Peru. The competition deadline is 12 April 2021 and winners will be selected by a panel of technical and music experts based on musical quality, relevance of the message, song originality, as well as inclusion of a call to action. Entries will be reviewed by AR Rahman, award-winning composer and other music artists, with winners awarded a cash prize, a music-video recording of their song and the opportunity for their song to be part of the global World Day Against Child Labour event in June 2021.


“The power of music lies in its ability to make people feel certain emotions, to connect and bring us together. I look forward to listening to the songs and compositions that will be submitted by so many talented and aspiring songwriters and musicians from around the world who want to lend their voices and talent to this important campaign," says Rahman

Video: ILO

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