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Music competition launched to raise awareness of child labour

The competition aims to harness the power of music to help combat child labour, which affects 152 million children worldwide.

GENEVA - The Music Against Child Labour Initiative, which brings together musicians to raise awareness of child labour, is launching a song competition on 3 February 2021 to mark the UN International Year for the Elimination 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 nearly 1 in 10 children worldwide.

While child labour has decreased by almost 40 per cent over the last two decades, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse that progress.

The global Music Against Child Labour Initiative, launched in 2013 by the ILO, JM International and the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), together with renowned musicians and key partners from the world of music has two key aims: raising awareness of child labour through music, and empowering children, including children formerly in child labour, through music.

This first edition of the song competition is taking place with the support of the CLEAR Cotton project co-funded by the European Commission and implemented by the ILO in collaboration with the FAO.

Musicians can submit their competition entries to one of three categories: a global category for all artists; a grassroots category for music projects involving children affected by child labour; and a CLEAR Cotton project category for national competitions run in Burkina Faso, Mali, Pakistan and Peru, where the project works with partners to combat child labour and forced labour in the cotton, textile and garment value chains.

Winners will be selected by a panel of technical and music experts, based on musical quality, the relevance of the message, song originality, and the inclusion of a call to action. Entries will be reviewed by the award-winning composer AR Rahman and other artists from the musical world.

“The power of music lies in its ability to make people feel certain emotions, to connect and bring us together,” said Rahman.

Winners will be awarded a cash prize, a professional 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 competition deadline is 12 April 2021.

The competition is being run by the global youth music organization Jeunesses Musicales International in collaboration with the International Labour Organization, under the umbrella of the Music Initiative.

For information about the competition and how to enter, visit:

The CLEAR Cotton project, co-funded by the European Union and implemented by the ILO in collaboration with the FAO, combats child labour in Burkina Faso, Mali, Pakistan and Peru by supporting the efforts of governments, social partners and the cotton sector actors at national level and by empowering communities and stakeholders.


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