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A Toolkit for Responsible Businesses
Boy working in match-making industry

Special Topic: Community-Based Child Labor Monitoring Systems

In remote geographic locations and industries where production is largely dispersed and informal, some companies have pursued community-based child labor monitoring approaches as an alternative to formal auditing.  This methodology has been tested in smallholder agricultural production in particular.

Example In Action

Community-Based Child Labor Monitoring in the West African Cocoa Sector

The International Chocolate and Cocoa Industry is working with the ILO to support the Governments of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in developing and launching a child labor monitoring system (CLMS).  The governments have a goal of covering all cocoa growing communities by 2020. In Côte d’Ivoire, there are approximately 3,600 cocoa-growing communities, while in Ghana there are about 5,000 cocoa-growing communities.  Côte d’Ivoire, in collaboration with the ILO, is planning to launch a pilot CLMS in over 100 communities by the end of 2012.  The Government of Ghana, in conjunction with the ILO, is planning to pilot its child labor monitoring system in 105 communities during 2012.  Some cocoa and chocolate companies are working with these governments to identify ways that they can assist in expanding the CLMS to enable it to reach more communities more quickly and can assist with the costs related to launching the CLMS in a given community.

For more information, see the Child Labor Cocoa Coordinating Group’s 2011 annual report.

Example In Action

Community-Based Child Labor Monitoring in the Philippines

From 2007-2011, the U.S. Department of Labor provided funding to World Vision, ChildFund International and the Educational Research and Development Assistance Foundation to combat child labor in the Philippines in a variety of industries, including sugarcane plantations, other commercial agriculture, child domestic work, commercial sexual exploitation, deep-sea fishing, mining/quarrying, garbage scavenging and pyrotechnics.  Among other activities, the “Combating Child Labor through Education in the Philippines” project established effective community-based mechanisms to identify child laborers.  The project recruited and trained a corps of dedicated volunteers to monitor children in the community, making sure children attended school and that their time outside of school was not spent working under hazardous conditions.  When working children were identified, they were invited to participate in the project to receive educational and other services.  Many of the volunteers were mothers of former child laborers whose own children had benefited from such services.  The project also formed Child Protection Committees at the local level, to whom volunteers could refer families in need or in crisis, to receive additional services.  These committees often included local government agency representatives such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Health.

For more information, see ICF International, Independent Final Evaluation of Combating Child Labor Through Education in the Philippines: the ABK Initiative Phase II, 2011.

A CLMS is a time-intensive and resource-intensive approach to monitoring that requires extensive engagement at the community level.  A key advantage is that it is a participatory approach that involves all appropriate stakeholders from the outset and ensures that all interactions with children—from identification to remediation—are carried out in a culturally appropriate manner.