LAHORE, Pakistan (ILO News) - The inventor of a new "ergonomic" loom that will help reduce the use of child labour in the carpet weaving sector by improving the working conditions and incomes of adult weavers has been awarded the 2005 Tech Museum Prize for pioneering work that benefits society through the use or development of new technologies.
Mr. Saeed Awan, Director of the Centre for the Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment (CIWCE) in Lahore, Pakistan, will share the US$ 250,000 prize with four other laureates. The prize is awarded annually by the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California.
Mr. Awan carried out a risk assessment of the health and safety conditions of child workers in the carpet industry on behalf of the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) of the International Labour Office (ILO). The study found that carpet weavers suffer from major health problems due to a loom design that hasn't changed for centuries. He came up with the idea of an "ergonomic" loom for adult carpet weavers.
"The real winners of the award are the millions of carpet weavers. I hope that this loom will be adopted throughout the country and reduce child labour", said Mr. Awan.
The new looms have been installed by ILO-IPEC in 30 homes and workplaces in three districts in Pakistan, resulting in major health improvements for adult carpet weavers. Their income increased up to 100 per cent in some cases as adults became healthier and more productive. This also resulted in a reduction of child labour in this sector as the families become less dependent on children's work.
IPEC is using this method to induce families to send their children to school instead of working. So far ILO-IPEC, with the financial support of carpet manufacturers and the US Department of Labor (USDOL), has rehabilitated around 26,000 working children in this sector. The center for the Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment in Lahore, established in 1988, is part of the Labour department in the province of Punjab and provides training, information and advisory services to improve environment and safety and health conditions at workplaces.
"The Tech Museum Awards were founded to shine a spotlight on the innovative work of those who dedicate their lives to using technology to help others", said the Tech Museum's President Meredith Taylor. "By celebrating the accomplishments of our Laureates, we can encourage others to become social entrepreneurs who leverage technology to make the world safer, healthier, and more equitable."
For further information, please contact Mr.
Saeed Awan, Director, Centre for the Improvement of
Working Conditions and Environment Township Lahore
Pakistan. Tel: 042-5150042, Cell: 0333-4227174,
Fax: 042-5123537, Email: email@example.com.
For more information on the awards and laureates, visit www.techawards.org. For information on the ILO-IPEC project that is testing the looms, Mr. Taseer Alizai, Project Manager ILO-IPEC Carpet Project 182-Model Town Lahore. Tel: 042-5842394-5, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Guy Thijs, Director IPEC, International Labour Office, route des Morillons, CH-1211 Geneva 22 Switzerland Email: email@example.com.