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DOL's Strategic Plan - Live Q&A Session with ILAB - Static Page

This chat about the DOL Strategic Plan was held on Friday, April 9 at 2:45 p.m. EDT with ILAB.

2:39 Moderator: Welcome! You can submit your questions at any time and they will go into a queue. We'll get to as many questions as possible during the chat, but we'll see all of them. This is a text-only chat, so no audio or video is included.

2:47 DUS Sandra Polaski: Thank you for taking the time to participate in today’s chat. I’m Sandra Polaski, Deputy Undersecretary for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) here at the Department of Labor. This web chat is part of our continued effort to foster broader stakeholder involvement in the formulation of our strategic plan, and allow us to speak directly with you about our plans for the future. This chat will allow us to address your thoughts as well as allow you to view the comments of other ILAB stakeholders. And with that, I’m happy to open things up and answer any questions or concerns you may have about ILAB’s strategic plan. For more information about ILAB and the programs we work on please visit www.dol.gov/ilab .

2:49 Moderator: We're ready for your questions. Don't be shy!

2:51 Comment From nevine: what criteria is followed to identify countries to support

2:51 Sandra: Thank you for your question. Of course we start with what the Congress has appropriated the monies for. We also look at a level of government committment to address worker rights issues including child labor and forced labor, the extent of the problem, the opportunities for other donors to partner with us, the opportunities to implement innovative strategies to address complex issues and finally, the ability to have a real-world impact on workers, children , and families.

2:56 Comment From Jesse Eaves: In ILAB's powerpoint it refers to "new approaches to combating the root causes of child labor". Can you provide examples of what these "new approaches" will be?

2:56 Sandra: Hi Jesse, thank you for your excellent question. This year, ILAB will have the ability to implement new approaches that help families overcome the poverty that leads their children into child labor. In addition to continuing to provide educational opportunities for working children, we will be looking at livelihood interventions including microfinance programs and skills training to improve the economic conditions of families and address one of the root causes of child labor.

2:59 Comment From nevine: i found that your strategy targeting the root causes of labor exploitation are very reallistic, would you consider covering the three issues; policy, technical assistance and research or you have preferences; how don you prioritize

3:00 Sandra: Thank you for your question. The approach you are describing is exactly the type that ILAB intends to pursue--integrating our policy, technical assistance, and research to achieve improvements in worker rights, including child labor and forced labor, livelihoods and worker conditions. We feel all these are necessary to work together to achieve our goals and promote long term solutions.

3:00 Comment From Dennis Olson, UFCW: Sec. 3205 of the Food and Energy Security Act, also known as the Farm Bill, directs the establishment of a voluntary, independent, third party monitoring and verification program that will certify whether an agricultural product imported or sold in the United States is produced by forced labor or child labor. Is this program being integrated into the ILAB strategic plan?

3:00 Sandra: Thanks Dennis, this is definitely part of our Strategic Plan. It gives us a new channel through which we can address the problems of child labor and forced labor. In this case, we will work with the other government agencies, the private sector, and NGOs to develop a set of recommendations to help reduce the importation of products made with these forms of labor. This is an example of mobilizing all the channels and resources available to us to make real improvements in the rights of workers and the protection of children and other vulnerable people.

3:01 Comment From nevine: i also found the new results measurement very useful as it is going to cover all the efforts/outcomes as stated in the ppt.

3:01 Sandra: Nevine, thank you for your questions and your interest in the work of the Bureau.

3:05 Comment From Carmen: Does DOL have any policy or preference for funding programs in new countries as opposed to continuing work in programs in which implementers have worked on DOL programs in the past?

3:05 Sandra: Thanks, Carmen. We seek to fund projects in countries that we believe have the greatest potential to meet our goals. That can be either projects that build on a foundation that we have already helped create or a new area where we seek to expand our impact in new ways.

3:05 Comment From nevine: are you intending to support microfance programmes and initiatives

3:05 Sandra: Nevine, you have a lot of good questions! The short answer is yes. ILAB has new authority to fund microfinance interventions and we intend to use these programs to compliment our strategies to combat exploitative and hazardous child labor. We think this will be an important new tool for helping families overcome the need to rely on child labor to meet their basic needs.

3:06 Moderator: We're getting some great questions, but we want to hear from all of you. We'll end our chat at 3:30 EDT today, so send your comments or questions now.

3:08 Comment From nevine: what are the chances for a country with a successful DOL project to be considered in the new plan to build on the achievements through targeting the root casues; policy, technical assistance and reearch and to increase the impact

3:08 Sandra: Nevine, we believe that your question has been answered. Please see our response to Carmen at 3:05.

3:08 Comment From nevine: i m really glad to know abour this new decisions to fund microfinance. congratulations. this will indeed help and facilitate our work in the field preventing or withdrawing children from exploitaive labour

3:09 Comment From Jesse Eaves: Many organizations (government and NGOs) have struggled to find good models/matrices to measure the prevention of children from entering the worst forms of child labor. Will ILAB be implementing any new models of prevention measurement in some of your new programs or will ILAB use measurement models that are used by your implementing partners who receive ILAB funds? Thanks in advance for your answers and for your work.

3:09 Sandra: This is an excellent question. ILAB intends to continue to work with its implementing organizations to find the most effective ways to measure the impact of our efforts. We believe that by focusing on addressing the root causes of child labor, not only are we going to be able to remove children from exploitative work, but also prevent those that are at risk of engaging in child labor in the first place. Awareness raising, education, and improved economic opportunities are the best ways to prevent and remove children from exploitative work situations.

3:16 Comment From nevine: would you also consider funding take home ration

3:16 Sandra: ILAB has funded a number of programs using strategies such as school feeding programs. We think these can be very effective in ensuring school attendance. Of course, project strategies need to match the needs of children and families.

3:20 Moderator: Our chat will end in 10 minutes, so if you have a question or comment, please send it now.

3:25 Comment From Vicki W: We are interested to learn if ILAB will develop common indicators for measuring improved livelihoods and increased household incomes and if will that be part of the joint strategic planning.

3:25 Sandra: Thanks Vicki, as we begin our new initiatives in these areas we will begin collecting data and developing measurement indicators immediately. However, as you can imagine, this will be an ongoing process of refining and identifying the best ways to measure whether our interventions are having a measurable impact on people's lives.

3:26 Comment From Katie: If ILAB is focusing on livelihoods and increased household incomes to address root problems of forced labor and child labor, will there be increased funding levels in technical assistance projects to include such services and training to household members? Would numbers of direct beneficiaries be based on a formula to include costs of added livelihood approaches? Would existing formulas be modified to account for increased costs of livelihood interventions?

3:26 Sandra: Hi Katie. Thank you for your question. As we look to identifying the most effective ways of promoting the livelihood of families, we will seek to ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to help us achieve this goal.

3:26 Comment From Jeffrey Lewis: Pathstone has applied for several past efforts and we are always applying with a group of local partners is this viewed as positive for your future plans or are you looking for more of a single delivery agent.

3:26 Sandra: Jeffrey, we think that working with local partners is essential to ensuring local ownership and sustainability of any effort. In ILAB's frequently asked questions, there is more detail about applying for grants: http://www.dol.gov/ILAB/faqs.htm.

3:27 Comment From Guest: have you earmarked funds for non-IPEC projects in your new Plan

3:27 Sandra: Thanks Guest, our appropriated funds from Congress provide $40,000,000 for IPEC projects and $20,000,000 for other child labor projects.

3:34 Comment From nevine: do you discuss/coordinate with IPEC countries to be covered

3:34 Sandra: Nevine, we regularly discuss with IPEC the countries where we are considering funding projects and where they may have received requests for assistance. Such discussions are an important part of ILAB's process to determine priority countries for funding projects in a given year.

3:34 Sandra: Well, as we wrap things up, I want to thank all of you for taking the time to ask questions and share your ideas. Your input is very important to us in ILAB and we value your thoughts and comments. I would encourage everyone to again review the presentation slide shows about ILAB provided on http://www.dol.gov/strategicplan2010 and submit your ideas to strategic-plan@dol.gov. We really want to hear as many voices as we can while we develop our plans. Thanks again.

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