Chapter V: Targeted Initiatives
The nature and extent of child labor in the 16 countries studied for this report was discussed in Chapter II, which focused on the exploitation of children in commercial agriculture, manufacturing, mining and quarrying, and services. This chapter illustrates specific efforts implemented or advanced by governments in the 16 countries to address the exploitation of children working in these sectors. It also describes projects aimed at the elimination of child labor across several sectors.
While this chapter does not provide an exhaustive listing of such efforts, it attempts to illustrate the level of government commitment to eradicating the exploitation of children through the implementation and support of targeted child labor projects. In many cases, these efforts are being implemented by government authorities, often in partnership with nongovernmental actors. Other projects are being supported or facilitated by government entities, through either direct funding or government participation in international initiatives such as the ILO's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC).
The targeted initiatives discussed in this chapter facilitate and complement the efforts in child labor law and enforcement and education discussed in previous chapters. While the focus here is on efforts either implemented or advanced by governments, it is important to note that numerous NGOs around the world are undertaking significant efforts without the participation or support of governmental authorities. The importance and value of such efforts cannot be overestimated. In some cases, nongovernmental actors are helping child laborers and their families where governments have failed to adequately prevent the exploitation of children. Ultimately, however, governments have the greatest responsibility for eliminating child labor and the broadest resources for addressing the problem.
While there is a broad range of programs and policies that could positively affect poverty and other socio-economic factors that lead to child labor, this chapter describes only those initiatives that directly aim to eliminate child labor and provide alternatives for working children and their families.1 It does not include projects that solely attempt to improve the working conditions of child laborers. In addition, given the relatively short time that many of these initiatives have been in place and the inherent difficulties in measuring the long-term impact of specific projects, the effectiveness of these efforts is generally not evaluated. However, where reliable data on the impact of a given effort are available, they are included.
Targeted child labor projects supported by governments are being implemented by a wide range of actors, including NGOs, international organizations, trade unions and employers' associations, and the media. Indeed, international organizations such as the ILO and UNICEF are playing an instrumental role in combating child labor in many countries. Of the 16 countries studied for this report, all but Mexico are participating in the ILO's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) (see Box I-1 in Chapter I for a detailed description of IPEC). A government's participation in IPEC can be seen as an important step towards acknowledging the existence of child labor and taking an active stance towards eliminating it. Many of the projects described in this chapter receive IPEC funding and technical support. Box V-1 below lists current IPEC member countries and the year in which each signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IPEC.
Efforts to eliminate child labor are as varied as the types of work in which children are engaged. The projects presented in this chapter vary in size, scope, and emphasis. While some help thousands of children, others help fewer than 100. Three key objectives of the projects are preventing child labor, removing children from exploitative work, and providing children with alternatives such as education or vocational training. Some projects provide the families of working children with income generating opportunities or economic and other incentives to compensate them for income lost by sending their children to school instead of to work. Other projects focus on raising public awareness of child labor abuses and children's rights. See Box V-2 for some examples of how such public awareness projects have been successfully implemented. Initiatives targeted at child labor in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and quarrying, and the services sector are reviewed in Section B of this chapter. Section C covers multi-sectoral initiatives, projects focusing on several sectors or industries.
Initiatives described in this section target specific child labor populations in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and quarrying, and various service occupations, including children working as domestic servants, commercial sex workers, and children working on the streets.
As stated in Chapter II, more of the world's working children are employed in agriculture than in any other sector. This section discusses initiatives undertaken or facilitated by governments to remove and rehabilitate children working in the agricultural sector. Specifically, it includes several initiatives to combat child labor in Tanzania's tea and tobacco plantations, Brazil's sisal plantations, and Mexico's fruit and vegetable farms. This section also describes initiatives in Nepal and Turkey targeting children working in agriculture under conditions of bondage or forced labor. Some of these initiatives provide economic incentives such as food baskets to working children and their families; others focus on providing rehabilitative services such as nonformal education. Many combine elements of both.
As noted in Chapter II, there are numerous health and safety risks involved in cutting and processing sisal, and resulting injuries can be debilitating. In one sisal-producing municipality in the Brazilian state of Bahia, a local union initiated a program to reduce the number of children working in the local sisal industry.
In 1996, the Union of Rural Workers of Retirolândia (Bahia), set up a pilot project to benefit working children and their families. The union provided goats to families who agreed to send their children to school instead of to work and instructed the families on the breeding of livestock. As part of the arrangement, parents agreed to use milk from the goats to feed their children. Parents also agreed to repay to the union as many goats as were originally given to them, thereby enabling the program to assist additional families.
Initially, more than 60 goats were distributed to about 30 families. As a result, more than 100 children were removed from hazardous work and instead attended school.2 Initially financed by IPEC, the program is now self-sustaining, and the number of families it serves continues to increase. The project has raised awareness of the hazards of child labor and the importance of education. It has also been active in coordinating efforts among teachers and other education professionals to improve the municipality's educational infrastructure.
Children working as agricultural day laborers on commercial fruit and vegetable farms in Mexico are subject to hazardous conditions. In recent years, media coverage and campaigns by North American vegetable growers have focused particular attention on the alleged use of child labor by growers of fruits and vegetables in Mexico's northeastern state of Sinaloa.3 To confront the child labor situation, the Confederation of Agricultural Associations of the State of Sinaloa (CAADES), in cooperation with the federal, state, and local governments, initiated a program in 1997-1998 to phase out child labor over a three-year period.4 In its first year, 46 of CAADES's 50 members, representing 122 farms, participated in the program.5
The program offers monthly compensatory food packages worth 300 pesos (US$ 30.00) to families who remove their children from work and send them to school, an amount equal to roughly 30 percent of an adult's monthly salary.6 The Sinaloa State Government's System for the Integral Development of the Family (DIF) covers 70 percent of the cost of the food packages, and growers provide the remaining 30 percent. In some cases, growers also contribute to the construction and furnishing of classrooms on their farms.7 The Department of Education provides teachers and school materials.
During its first year, the program targeted child workers up to 10 years of age8 and included the participation of almost 2,000 children. While the majority of the children were between the ages of six and 10, another seven percent were between the ages of 11 and 14.9 Teachers were responsible for taking attendance to ensure that participating children were not working. Each child who completed 120 days of schooling received a certificate from the Ministry of Education.10 By the end of the 1999-2000 season, the program will broaden its target group to include children up to the age of 14.11
In some districts of the Iringa region in southwestern Tanzania, children labor from dawn to dusk on tea and tobacco plantations. In order to eliminate child labor in these districts, the Tanzania chapter of the African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN), under an IPEC program, initiated a dialogue with community leaders, parents, district officials, employers, and schoolteachers on how to launch a community-based action program against child labor.12 Among its strategies, ANPPCAN used drama and theatre to mobilize communities and raise awareness of child labor.
Since the inception of ANPPCAN's program in 1995, teachers report improvements in both school enrollment and attendance. As a result of the program's efforts, 12 primary schools are now providing meals for students, and some employers have started providing school materials and meals for children and supporting women's self-help groups that enable families to pay school fees and buy school uniforms.13
Other organizations have also been involved in efforts to reduce the number of children working on plantations. The Organization of Tanzanian Trade Unions has trained union leaders to bargain for the protection of working children and prevention of child labor. The Association of Tanzanian Employers has initiated a dialogue among plantation owners and managers on the child labor situation and what can be done to prevent child labor.14
In Nepal, several programs aim to rehabilitate rural children working under bonded conditions. The Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC), which has received ILO/IPEC funding, provides educational opportunities to bonded children. INSEC provides children with nine months of nonformal education, focusing on basic language and arithmetic skills, and then seeks to integrate these children into formal primary education. Through these activities, INSEC has enrolled over 1,000 children in Nepalese schools.15 Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN), another NGO receiving ILO/IPEC support, also provides nonformal education to bonded children, enabling many to be admitted to government schools. In addition, RRN provides vocational orientation and skills training to older children and their parents.16
The Development Foundation of Turkey (DFT) has initiated a project addressing seasonal forced child labor in several rural mountain villages in the Duragan district of Sinop. Each year, during the first week of May, about 400 male children are taken by their fathers to the "child labor market" in Bafra and auctioned off. Affluent families in nearby towns "rent out" these nine- to 15-year-old children for periods of up to five months to perform tasks such as caring for livestock, stacking and drying tobacco leaves, and cutting wood.17
With support from ILO/IPEC, the DFT established an office in Duragan to help train 56 boys, together with their families, in economic activities such as beekeeping, turkey breeding, and greenhouse agriculture that allow them to earn income and thereby avoid being rented out as seasonal forced labor. 18 The program has generated considerably more income for most of the families than could have been generated by renting out their children.19
2. Manufacturing and Quarrying
As noted in Chapter II, child labor in the manufacturing sector accounts for about eight percent of all child labor, and the mining and quarrying sector accounts for about one percent of all child labor. Children working in the manufacturing sector are often employed under subcontracting arrangements and work out of small workshops or homes where they face various hazards and lack the protection of existing child labor legislation. Likewise, quarrying often involves children working in small scale enterprises under highly hazardous conditions.
The following section describes efforts made by a variety of actors, in partnership with governments, to eliminate child labor in the manufacturing and quarrying sectors and rehabilitate former child workers. Many of these efforts focus on providing alternative forms of income for children and their families and providing education and health services. This section includes initiatives in Bangladesh and Pakistan to remove and rehabilitate child laborers in the garment and sporting goods industries. It also covers efforts to eliminate child labor in the Nepalese carpet industry, the Brazilian shoe industry, the Peruvian brick making industry, and the Guatemalan and Peruvian stone quarrying industries.
In July 1995, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers' Association (BGMEA), the ILO, and UNICEF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at eliminating child labor in the garment industry. The MOU provided that all children working in the garment sector should be removed from factories and enrolled in schools, but that children should not be removed from work until an appropriate school program was in place.20 It prohibited factories from hiring new underage workers or retaining children once school facilities were available. The MOU established processes for verification and monitoring of employment at garment factories, referral of underage workers to NGO-run schools, and monthly income maintenance stipends of 300 taka (US$ 6.88) for children attending school. The signatories agreed to jointly fund these activities and manage the implementation of the MOU through a steering committee.
The MOU partners established a monitoring program under the direction of the ILO to implement the MOU. To identify the incidence of child labor at BGMEA factories, monitoring teams--made up of ILO, BGMEA, and Government of Bangladesh representatives--visit registered factories in designated zones one to three times per month and interview workers.21
Over time, the MOU's monitoring system has helped to reduce significantly the number of child workers in BGMEA factories. A 1995 survey identified 10,546 children working in 891 BGMEA factories, or about 43 percent of BGMEA's 2,152 factories.22 By 1996, the percentage of BGMEA factories employing children had fallen to 32 percent, and by 1997, the percentage had fallen to 13 percent.23 Figures for January to May 1998 indicate that only eight percent of BGMEA factories still employ child workers.24 The absolute number of children found at factories has also declined. Whereas early monitoring identified several hundred children per month, in April 1998, fewer than 100 child workers were found working in BGMEA factories,25 and in October 1998, only 35 children were found.26
The MOU parties have established 353 schools, operated by two NGOs, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) and Gano Shahajiya Sangstha (GSS).27 Children attend these schools for three hours a day and for a period of two years at BRAC schools and three years at GSS schools.28 The schools, run in consultation with the Bangladesh government, served a total of 9,710 children through the end of 1997.29 In 1998, the number of children enrolled in the schools decreased significantly, as over 60 percent of the children originally enrolled turned 14 years of age, the legal age for factory employment (see Appendix D). To adjust for this decline, the program has consolidated numerous centers. On April 30, 1998, there were 232 schools in operation under the MOU, with a total enrolment of 4,307 students.30
In the future, the MOU parties are considering additional activities to alleviate the poverty of families with working children. Among the recommendations being considered by the steering committee are projects focusing on food supplementation, vocational training, skill training, microcredit facilities, and health care facilities.31
In February 1997, the Pakistani soccer ball industry, the ILO, and UNICEF reached an agreement to remove children from the production of soccer balls, provide them with educational opportunities, and create internal and external monitoring systems for the soccer ball industry. Over 50 Pakistani soccer ball manufacturers and U.S. importers have signed the agreement, known as the Partners' Agreement to Eliminate Child Labor in the Soccer Ball Industry in Sialkot, Pakistan.32 This agreement is closely modeled on the Memorandum of Understanding, described above, between Bangladeshi garment manufacturers, the ILO, and UNICEF that aims to phase out employment of children in garment factories, place them in schools, and create a monitoring and verification program to ensure success.
The project has two programs--one focusing on prevention and monitoring and the other on social protection. The prevention and monitoring program aims to help manufacturers and assemblers identify and remove children under 14 years of age from soccer ball stitching centers by formally registering all stitchers, stitching centers, and stitching contractors.33 It also aims to shift production from homes to stitching centers, where child labor violations can be monitored more systematically and effectively. Under the Agreement, manufacturers create their own internal registration and monitoring system that is supplemented by an independent monitoring group, charged with monitoring violations of the partnership agreement.34
The social protection program aims to rehabilitate child laborers, particularly those affected by the prevention and monitoring program, by providing more relevant and hence more valuable education, as well as in-kind assistance.35 As of October 1998, about 5,400 children and their families were benefitting from the social protection program through 154 village education and action (VEA) centers. The VEA centers are charged with providing nonformal education to children removed from work in the soccer industry. They facilitate the enrollment of younger siblings in primary education, set up parent "action committees" to encourage parental participation in the program, establish income generation activities and other in-kind support, conduct awareness-raising campaigns in communities, and, whenever possible, mainstream children under 12 years old into the formal school system.36
Prior to joining the ILO/IPEC Social Protection Program, about half of the children served had been stitching soccer balls full-time.37 As indicated by ILO data collected for the period from October 1997 to October 1998, an average of 50 percent of the participating manufacturers' production capacity has been shifted to monitored stitching centers.38 In addition, 80 small village-based stitching centers for women are now in operation.
The Sialkot project has had a positive impact across the border in India and in other industries in Pakistan. Soccer ball manufacturers in India, under the auspices of the Indian Sportsgoods Manufacturers and Exporters Association, have developed plans for a similar project to phase out employment of children in soccer ball stitching and ensure their attendance in school. Under the proposed plan, a new foundation, funded by exporter contributions, would promote education and ensure that underage children who are employed stitching balls are replaced by older siblings or parents.39
On October 22, 1998, the ILO and the Pakistani Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association signed an agreement to phase children under 14 out of the carpet industry, provide educational opportunities, and establish a compliance monitoring system. This landmark agreement flows from the model of the soccer ball agreement in Sialkot.
Initiated in 1996 by the Association for the Well-Being of Young People (ASBEM), the Vale dos Sinos Project aims to protect working children and prevent and eliminate child labor in the shoe industries of Novo Hamburgo and Dois Irmãos--two cities in the State of Rio Grande do Sul.40 An initial survey found over 480 children working in the shoe industry of these two cities. ASBEM's project has involved increasing awareness among the general public, employers, and parents about the plight of working children and negotiating with owners of shoe workshops to improve working conditions. In addition, the project has organized extracurricular education and prevocational training for children who stopped or were willing to stop working in the shoe industry.41
So far, about 150 children have been removed from work and placed in centers that provide them with educational and extracurricular activities. ILO/IPEC provided initial funding for the project, but local government will eventually assume the costs of sustaining it, including building and maintaining additional educational centers for children at risk of working in the shoe industry.42
In the Retalhuleu District of Guatemala, children as young as five years old work in stone quarries, chipping and carrying stones. Since June 1998, the Guatemalan Association for Sustainable Development (HABITAT), in cooperation with a number of government agencies, NGOs, and labor groups, has been implementing a project to eliminate child labor in the stone quarries of Retalhuleu.43 The project involves analyzing the extent and nature of child labor in the area, raising local awareness about child labor, and encouraging participation in the project by parents and local business people. It aims to establish mobile education units for working children; provide medical and health services for working children and their families; promote income generation and economic alternatives; and encourage improvements in stone quarry production processes. The project is also working to create a database of child labor information and statistics.44
With ILO/IPEC funding, the project provides services to 1,081 working children (five to 14 years old) from 189 families. These families must sign an agreement to remove their children from work and place them in school.45 As an initial step, children are allowed to attend mobile education units which offer a modified curriculum tailored to their specific needs and vocational training. The project aims eventually to integrate these children into formal schools. Their hours of work are progressively reduced until they can be completely removed from the quarry sites.46 Although the program was only recently implemented, a number of children have already been removed from work and are now attending school.47
Since 1995, the National Society for Protection of Environment and Children (NASPEC), with the support of ILO/IPEC, has run a rescue and rehabilitation program for children in Nepal's carpet industry. The program aims to phase out child labor in carpet factories, protect children removed from work during this process, and ensure that they do not return to factory work or find employment in other hazardous industries. Youths removed from the carpet factories are placed in temporary homes and nonformal education centers in the Kathmandu and Patan areas.48 NASPEC also conducts informal education classes at carpet factories.49
Apart from education, NASPEC provides working children with counseling, health services, and skill development. The program also attempts to reunite child laborers with their parents, when possible, or place them in children's hostels.50 Some children are given on-the-job training in carpentry, bicycle repair, and Tibetan painting. Others receive training in NASPEC rehabilitation centers in knitting, knot crafts, and envelope-making.51 To date, about 650 working children have benefited from the nonformal education program, and 32 children have received skills training.52
The Huachipa brick fields project is implemented by the Government of Peru's National Institute for Family Well-Being (INABIF) and its Street Educators, with financial support from IPEC and collaboration from three NGOs.53 The project targets children working in brick fields on the outskirts of Lima. These children, some as young as three and four years old, have been found working alongside their families turning over bricks. INABIF's Street Educators--usually young professionals with a background in social work or psychology--have identified close to 1,000 children working in the brick fields. Street Educators placed adolescent brick makers in vocational training courses and provided mentoring and tutoring for younger children. In addition, NGOs provided teacher training, health care services, and small loans to the families of working children to support their development of microenterprises.
The Huachipa program has achieved its initial goal of serving 300 children ages six to 13 years. One hundred children stopped working altogether, while the 200 remaining children reduced their hours of work from 40 to 15 hours a week.54 Families have set up various microenterprises such as raising fowl and pigs, selling tires, marketing vegetables, and running small grocery stores, and are repaying the loans.55 IPEC financial support ended in March 1998, but all parties hope to expand the project to reach other children working in the brick fields.
The NGO CURMI, with ILO/IPEC support, strives to remove children from the work of breaking stones in the quarries of Carabayllo. By providing participating families with additional sources of income, CURMI aims to reduce their dependence on income earned by their children. Participating mothers are required to sign a pledge to keep their children from working. Already, CURMI has helped 20 local mothers establish a microenterprise manufacturing plastic bags. Street educators from the National Institute for Family Well-Being (INABIF) identified eligible families, monitored and evaluated implementation of the project, and helped parents meet their financial commitments. CURMI bought the necessary equipment and provided legal and technical counsel. A plastics company, UNIONPLAST, supplied the raw material, as well as technical and marketing advice for participating mothers.56
The following section provides an overview of several efforts targeting child domestic workers, child commercial sex workers, trafficked children, and children living and working on urban streets. As demonstrated in Chapter II, all these service occupations pose serious risks to the physical and emotional well-being of children. Girls, in particular, are frequently employed as domestic servants and prostitutes, and are often victims of trafficking.
In order to eliminate child labor in the services sector, various countries have initiated programs targeting at-risk children and offering rehabilitative services to rescued child workers. Efforts include public awareness campaigns, nonformal education, skills training, economic incentives, employment opportunities for the families of working children, and re-unification of trafficked children with their families. The countries reviewed in this section include Brazil, Kenya, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines, Thailand, and Turkey.
In Brazil, there are a number of organizations addressing the plight of working street children. Projeto Axé, an NGO founded in 1990 in the State of Bahia, has developed innovative programs focusing on socialization, vocational training, and educational opportunities for children and adolescents who work and live on the streets.57 The project encourages working youth to leave high-risk environments and pursue an education.
After children enter Projeto Axé, they receive counseling and participate in literacy programs, vocational training, and artistic, cultural, and entertainment activities. Children age 12 and older may also participate in Stampaxé, where they produce silk-screened T-shirts; Modaxé, where they design and produce clothing for fashion shows; and the Escola de Circo, where they learn the circus trade.58 Projeto Axé works very closely with local authorities and other NGOs.59 The project has been so successful that it trains other NGOs to rehabilitate street children and prevent children from ever reaching the streets.60
In the state of Pernambuco, government funding supports Casa da Passagem (House of Passage), an NGO assisting street girls involved in prostitution. The organization assists approximately 300 street girls and low-income girls and adolescents (ages seven to 21) by offering educational and vocational activities, introducing them to community work, and reestablishing family links.61 These services are furnished in two houses: House I, where the NGO raises awareness and strengthens the self-esteem of girls rescued from the streets, and House II, where at-risk girls receive lodging, professional skills, and vocational training. All of the girls are required to be enrolled in formal school. Some of the Casa da Passagem girls go on to become advocates for their communities, raising awareness about the dangers of prostitution and life on the streets.62
In 1995, the Sinaga Women and Child Labour Resource Centre began a program to raise awareness about child domestic workers and help girls engaged in domestic service in Nairobi.63 As noted in Chapter II, domestic workers are often denied schooling, isolated from their families, and victimized by on-the-job sexual harassment and abuse. Sinaga, which receives funding from ILO/IPEC, has assisted about 255 young domestic workers by creating community awareness and soliciting community support.64 The program provides skills training, basic education, counseling, legal advice, and a rescue shelter for girls who are abused by their employers. Sinaga also actively works to educate communities about the plight of child domestics. It publishes a working paper series and a quarterly newsletter that includes short stories and poems about the lives of child domestic workers. 65
With support from ILO/IPEC, the Nepalese Ministry of Women and Social Affairs and the NGO Maiti Nepal are implementing a program to eliminate trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children.66 The government focuses its efforts on building the capacity of the governmental and nongovernmental community to deal with child trafficking at the national level. Maiti Nepal focuses on the prevention and rehabilitation of trafficked and sexually exploited children in Nepal. The NGO runs a rehabilitation center, two prevention camps, three transit homes, and a home for the dying. The rehabilitation center provides food, lodging, formal and nonformal education, vocational skill development, medical checkups, counseling, and identification of relatives. Currently 130 women and children stay at the center, the majority of whom are age 15 or younger.67 Women and girls who finish the vocational skills training are encouraged to live independent lives. In fact, thirty have already started their own business with support from Maiti Nepal's microcredit program.68
Maiti Nepal's two prevention camps are in Nuwakot and Makwanpur, both districts with a high level of trafficking in girls.69 These camps, each of which take 30 girls for a period of six months, aim to prevent them from being trafficked to brothels in India. At the camps, girls are made aware of the dangers of prostitution and provided with nonformal education and vocational training. Ninety girls have completed the program, and 60 more are about to finish. None of the girls who have been through the program have been trafficked, and two have joined the local police force.70
Maiti Nepal's three transit homes along the border of India and Nepal provide temporary shelter for girls returning from Indian brothels or girls who have been rescued.71 These girls are provided counseling, medical care, assistance in identifying parents, safe passage home, and legal aid to pursue traffickers. After two months, they are either reunited with their families, transferred to one of the rehabilitation centers, or, if they are terminally ill, transferred to Maiti Nepal's home for the dying.
The work of Maiti Nepal also involves identifying criminals and filing charges against them, building networks and self help groups, mobilizing local populations to fight against the trafficking of girls, advocating for stronger laws, initiating public awareness campaigns, and putting pressure on the government to take action.72 From 1993 to 1998, Maiti Nepal has been involved in the arrest of approximately 50 criminals.73
The Government of Nicaragua Fund for Children and the Family (FONIF), in collaboration with ILO/IPEC and other nongovernmental groups, is implementing a program targeting children who sell goods at major intersections near shops, schools, gas stations, and bus stops. Many of these children are as young as 10 years of age and work for more than 12 hours a day. The Alternatives to the Family Program aims to reduce and eventually eliminate the number of children working in the streets of Managua by reincorporating them into formal or informal school environments and providing their families with income-generating alternatives. Six hundred child and adolescent workers currently benefit from the program, and some benefits also extend to other family members.74
FONIF coordinates the project, while local NGOs, community centers, and preschools provide daily care services, food, education, employment training, health care, and special treatment for youths addicted to sniffing glue.75 The Managua mayor's office provides temporary employment to the families of working children, and the Ministry of Social Action provides food under a work-for-food program. Companies such as Pepsi and MILCA bottlers extend employment opportunities and credit to parents of children who sell goods at traffic signals and work in other high-risk situations.76
The Street Educators Program, implemented by the National Institute of Family Well-Being (INABIF), is one of the Peruvian government's most important and focused initiatives to address the plight of working street children. The program seeks to assist street children by eliminating the daily hazards they face, building opportunities for their personal development, and tending to their basic health and educational needs. The program encourages working children to stay in or return to school. It also encourages them to reduce work hours, work in safer occupations, or stop work entirely, especially in the case of hazardous occupations. To achieve its goals, the program works with children, their families, and their community.
The street educators go into the streets to meet working children. They cultivate relationships with them and persuade them to come to "reference centers." Once in the centers, children are encouraged to return to their studies, get tutoring and mentoring, relax, and have fun.
After educators identify a working child, they contact the child's parents to stress the importance of school. In many cases, they ask NGOs for loans so that families can set up microenterprises, increase their income, and have their children cut back or quit work and concentrate on school.77 Street educators also discuss with teachers the situation of individual working children, including ways in which a teacher might help a student keep current or catch up in school. The program is time and labor-intensive, as it entails earning children's trust and building relationships with families in the community, but it has stopped some children from working and diminished the work hours of others.
A total of 5,549 street children and working children have participated in the program in the last four years. As of March 1998, the program had 156 educators serving 3,854 working children and 314 street children in 12 Peruvian cities.78 INABIF's goal for 1998 is to have 206 educators in 14 cities serving 6,000 children.79
The Street Educators Program was initially funded by the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), with UNICEF providing administrative and technical support. The IDB has gradually decreased funding, with the intent that eventually the program will be fully funded by the Government of Peru.80 In June 1997, INABIF signed an agreement to work with ILO/IPEC, through the Street Educators Program, in areas where children work in hazardous situations. INABIF committed itself to doing diagnostics of the areas, identifying beneficiaries of the projects, organizing meetings with the communities, and evaluating and following up on the project. IPEC committed technical assistance and financial support.81
The Street Educators Program has entered into an agreement with Lima's Directorate of Education (part of the Ministry of Labor) to develop a program that will serve 1,830 working children. INABIF will identify working children and adolescents and direct them towards school. It will also inform teachers about child labor issues, monitor remedial education classes, care for working children at reference centers, and provide a curriculum proposal for a new school to be establish at the children's home, Las Palomitas. The Directorate of Education will include street educators in meetings to exchange information, promote identification and registration of working children and adolescents, establish remedial education classrooms, solicit universities to staff the classes, and undertake a pilot program at the new school.82
In 1989, the ILO and the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) Bureau of Women and Young Workers initiated a project targeting child scavengers at the Balut dumpsite in Manila's Smokey Mountain. The initial project established a drop-in center to provide nonformal education and protective services to child scavengers. In 1992, the project was handed over to the Education Research and Development Assistance Foundation (ERDA). While maintaining the ILO and DOLE's initial project design, ERDA over the years has developed various new and innovative activities for the children it serves. Its rehabilitation program offers skills training and seeks to bring children back to school through a tutorial program coordinated with a local school. Children are provided opportunities to learn and earn income in safer and more creative ways, such as through paper recycling, T-shirt printing, and other arts and crafts activities. Specially trained workers also provide financial help, health care, and food. Parents, who also usually work at the dumpsite, provide permission for their children to enter the program. Parents must sign a contract to keep their children away from the dumpsite for five years and active in the program for at least three to four years.83
Since 1994, ILO/IPEC has supported efforts by the Government of Thailand and several NGOs to prevent and eliminate the recruitment of children into prostitution in Thailand's northern and northeastern provinces. The focus of these efforts has been to provide direct social services to at-risk girls and their families and to build the capacity of governmental and nongovernmental agencies to carry out sustained efforts in the areas of prevention and elimination.
Under this action program, the Thai government, several NGOs, and academic institutions have conducted awareness-raising campaigns and provided nonformal education, skills training, and leadership training to at-risk girls. The Ministry of Education developed an education module that was sensitive to the problems and needs of at-risk girls. The Ministry tested the module in target schools, providing girls with basic education, career counseling, and training in skills such as baking, sewing, handicrafts, and computers.84
The NGO Thai Woman of Tomorrow (TWT) developed campaign materials to educate at-risk girls and their parents about alternatives to careers in the commercial sex industry. TWT developed videos about the dangers faced by girls working in the commercial sex industry and translated the videos into several local dialects. The videos also informed parents about the various alternative educational and career opportunities available to their daughters. Follow-up surveys indicate that, where shown, the videos have been successful in conveying their message to communities.85
The Development Foundation of Turkey (DFT) implemented a program, involving three villages in eastern Turkey, to enable young female domestic servants to pursue an education. The project, supported by ILO/IPEC, targeted 60 girls who left school to work as domestic servants after completing just five years of basic education. The overriding desire of these girls was to complete their education. DFT developed income-generating activities for them, notably the processing of capers. To increase the time available for pursuing an education, the program purchased twenty solar-powered water heaters to help reduce the time girls spend cutting wood--up to three hours a day--to heat water for chores such as washing dishes.86
UNICEF facilitates the educational aspects of the project. It organized a long-distance learning program through the eighth grade and established an education center to complement the program. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) contributed to the program by helping parents to increase food production through irrigation. Finally, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) set up programs focusing on family-planning, reproductive health, and child health.87
The following section outlines broad ranging and multi-sectoral efforts to rescue, remove and rehabilitate children from child labor. These programs, often involving a broad coalition of governmental and nongovernmental actors and community groups working in partnership, have reached tens of thousands of child workers and at-risk children.
The section describes multi-sectoral initiatives in Brazil, India, and the Philippines. The first example describes a program benefiting approximately 48,000 working children in Brazil. The second program has led to the release of approximately 100,000 children from hazardous work in India and to the enrollment of approximately the same number in nonformal schools. The third example highlights an NGO in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh that has been instrumental in enrolling and retaining about 80,000 children in school since 1991. The last example comes from the Philippines, where a foundation has aided government agencies in uncovering cases of illegal child labor and successfully rescued many working children from exploitation in the agricultural, manufacturing, and service sectors.
The Eradication of Child Labor (ECL) program, sponsored by the Brazilian Ministry of Welfare and Social Assistance (MPAS), supports and encourages governmental and nongovernmental initiatives to eradicate child labor, particularly in rural areas of Brazil.88 The ECL program specifically targets rural families whose children either work or are at risk of working and do not attend school.89 The program aims to stop children from working and assure that they attend school on a regular basis. Families who participate receive assistance in health matters, job training, housing, and legal issues.90 Coordination and implementation of the program involves federal, state, and local governments, labor and industry groups, and other relevant NGOs.
The ECL program began in 1996 as a pilot project in areas of the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, where children labor in charcoal production and maté91 harvesting. In January 1997, the program was implemented in the sugar cane fields of Pernambuco state and, in June 1997, in the sisal and stone breaking region of Bahia state. As of May 1998, the program had also been implemented in three additional states--Sergipe, Rondônia, and Rio de Janeiro--where it targets the eradication of child labor in the orange/citrus industry, the commercial sex industry, and the sugar cane industry, respectively.92 Nearly 48,000 children currently benefit from ECL projects.93
Children who participate in the ECL program must have an 80 to 90 percent school attendance rate and must attend a complementary educational activities program (jornada ampliada) before or after school.94 As an emergency and temporary measure, the ECL program offers a stipend to supplement the income of participating families.95 The value of the monthly stipends or scholarships ranges from 25 reais (US$ 22) to 150 reais (US$ 134), depending on local economic conditions and the number of children in each family between the ages of seven and 14.96 The program also encourages the creation of income-generating projects that reduce the families' reliance on child labor as a source of income.
A 1997 evaluation of the Mato Grosso do Sul program found the following: (1) child labor in charcoal production and maté harvesting has been eradicated in 100 percent of the municipalities surveyed;97 (2) there has been an increase in primary school registration of 273 percent; (3) construction and/or expansion of 16 schools has been undertaken to address the increased demand for education; (4) school attendance has increased and students' educational performance has improved; and (5) there have been significant improvements in the living conditions of families participating in the program, including access to health services and new employment opportunities for the families.98
In the state of Pernambuco, the program's activities have helped reduce school absenteeism during the sugar cane harvest season.99 The program has fomented partnerships between local government and community groups and led to a consolidation of agreements to end child labor in the state's sugar cane fields. The ECL program has also resulted in improvements in the area's educational infrastructure through the hiring of teachers and other school professionals. In addition, the nutrition and health of local families have been enhanced as a result of the program. According to the state of Pernambuco's Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare, recent labor inspections found no evidence of children working in the 13 municipalities where the ECL program is being implemented.100
While the consensus is that ECL programs have been effective in reducing child labor in target areas, some concerns have been raised about the programs' broader impact, given the magnitude of the child labor situation in the country. An estimated 4.3 million children work in Brazil, but ECL programs currently help only 48,000 children who worked or were at risk of working in hazardous industries.101 In addition, questions have been raised about the fairness of targeting rural child workers while neglecting or providing a lower level of protection to urban working children.102 Concerns have also been raised about efforts to eliminate and prevent child labor in select industries rather than targeting all working children in a given region.103 In some cases, the ECL programs are criticized for creating an increased demand for school facilities without ensuring that an adequate educational infrastructure is in place, including quality instruction.104 Many of the implementing government agencies are trying to address this issue by building new schools, providing resources for transportation to schools, administering additional teacher training, and increasing teacher salaries.
In August 1987, the Government of India announced a national policy on child labor. This policy called for the establishment of National Child Labor Projects (NCLPs) in 12 child labor-endemic states.105 As of 1994, when the government began to focus its projects on an estimated two million children working in hazardous occupations, 76 child labor projects have been established. The main components of the projects include nonformal education, health, nutrition, and vocational skills training.106 Under these projects, 1,800 nonformal schools have been opened,107 and close to 105,000 children have been enrolled in these schools.108
The child labor projects are implemented by NGOs with the Government of India providing grants covering up to 75 percent of project costs. To qualify for such a grant, NGO programs must include education, nutrition, health care, and vocational components. So far, the government has awarded grants to 29 NGOs.109
The teaching style in the nonformal schools established under the NCLPs is designed to help disadvantaged students assimilate into the formal education system. Informal methods such as storytelling, singing, visual games, puppet theater, and community activities are used to promote students' active participation in school. Classes are conducted in the native language and local dialect.
Recently, however, an evaluation of the nonformal schools revealed several problems with the projects. Supplies of teaching and learning materials are irregular, and supervision of centers is only sporadic. There is little monitoring, and no regular feedback from school administrators to teachers. Teacher salaries are reported to be inadequate and often not paid on time. Moreover, despite the fact that instructors and administrators are often young and inexperienced, they receive no orientation or training before being expected to teach classes and supervise projects. Many of these problems have been attributed to the highly centralized and bureaucratic structure of the NCLP administration.110
A sociologist who evaluated NCLP activities in the state of Uttar Pradesh observed that the projects only help local children who are already receiving some degree of family support to attend school, and do not address the needs of migrant children from places like Bihar, who work under far worse conditions.111 Several government officials in Uttar Pradesh agreed that the NCLPs are not addressing the more serious problems of migrant child labor.112 The government is currently planning to open more NCLP training centers in Bihar in an effort to prevent children from migrating.113
Currently, the Ministry of Labor is reevaluating the NCLP. With an annual budget of US$ 11.6 million covering 76 programs nationwide, the Ministry's resources have been spread thin. In addition, the NCLP budget is not expected to be increased during the remaining three years of India's current five-year plan. To adjust to this situation, the Ministry is attempting to consolidate various NCLP centers, increasing funding to areas with high levels of child labor and closing under-utilized centers.114
The goals of the M. Venkatarangaiya (MV) Foundation, established in 1990 in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, include enrolling and keeping children in schools, increasing parental support of their children's education, improving existing government schools, and putting pressure on political leaders at all levels to make education more accessible to children. The MV Foundation has been funded by the Indian Government and various organizations including ILO/IPEC, UNICEF, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), a Dutch NGO (HIVOS), and several Indian NGOs such as Child Relief and You (CRY) and the JRD Tata Trust.115
The foundation has a network of 8,000 "youth volunteers" who recruit children throughout Ranga Reddy district. These volunteers are former students, teachers at government schools, businessmen, and farmers interested in promoting education.116 MV Foundation volunteers conduct door-to-door surveys in their villages to identify children who are working and out of school. In addition, volunteers try to identify individuals in the community who support increasing children's access to education and who might be willing to work with the foundation.117 In cases where parents are hostile to volunteers, the volunteers still make a point of returning so that their constant appearance can help them establish some credentials with the parents.
Once foundation volunteers establish that a child is not in school, they determine whether the child should be enrolled in a local school, enter a government program, or be sent to a special MV Foundation "bridge camp." The bridge camp provides nonformal education and prepares former working children to enter government schools. During their first week at bridge camp, children spend their time playing, singing, dancing, and participating in other recreational activities. Initially, there is no teaching, since the camp's immediate goal is to help children feel comfortable in their new environment.
During the second week, teachers begin with storytelling exercises and then discuss with students whether they just want to play or whether they would gain something by learning. Students usually decide on their own that they want to learn something. They begin by learning the alphabet and then move on to studying sentence construction and learning proverbs.118 All the subjects prescribed by the government are taught, but often in unique ways. Math and statistics may be taught by having students conduct surveys of the number of houses and water buffalo in their village. While much emphasis is placed on creating a happy learning environment, teachers also stress that learning can be difficult and often can require hard work. At the end of the 16-month course, students receive training on how to integrate themselves into mainstream schools, where the atmosphere tends to be more rigid and traditional.119
Today, in 100 villages where MV Foundation volunteers operate, close to 100 percent of the children are enrolled in school,120 while in another 400 villages every child below the age of 11 is in school.121 The program began in 1991 with 68 students in three villages,122 and today can be credited for the enrollment and retention of about 80,000 children in school.123
The Kamalayan Development Foundation (KDF) assists government agencies in uncovering children illegally employed in factories and other places of work, documents cases of child labor and exploitation, and participates in rescue operations.124
The first such rescue operation took place in 1993. Following KDF surveillance and infiltration of a Chinese-owned sardine factory in Youngs Town (with KDF members posing as plant workers), KDF, in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), led a raid on the facility. The raid rescued seven child workers and 20 adult workers who had been illegally detained, maltreated, and grossly exploited. The raid was widely covered by the Philippine press, and for the first time, drew attention to the exploitation of working children in factories. Similar raids have since been conducted by KDF, DOLE, and NBI at a cooking oil factory, a plastic bag factory, several pig and poultry farms, prostitution dens, a textile manufacturing plant, a bleach factory, and a household that employed a child domestic worker.
In Ormoc City on the island of Leyte and in Davao City on the island of Mindanao, KDF has established programs to counter the efforts of child labor recruiters who often lure children into exploitative work under false pretenses. These programs have rescued children from recruiters and crippled certain child labor recruiting operations. In Metro Manila and Central Luzon, KDF has rescued children from labor recruiters and from working under sweatshop conditions in a water pump and tank factory. KDF has also been successful in bringing media attention to the case of children injured while working at an Ormoc firecracker factory.125 Currently, KDF's efforts are focused on the plight of bonded child labor in Bulacan and on working children employed in the sugar haciendas of Ormoc, Albuera, and Kananga. KDF is also engaged in a joint project with the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines to combat child labor in the informal sector.126
This chapter has described several targeted child labor initiatives being implemented or advanced by governments in the 16 countries studied for this report. Many of these initiatives focus on the immediate elimination of some of the most hazardous forms of child labor and involve partnerships among governments, international organizations, NGOs, trade unions, and industry groups. Some of the targeted child labor projects not only remove children from exploitative work situations, but also provide supportive services such as educational opportunities for the children and income generation alternatives for their families. Often such multi-faceted and comprehensive programs are the most effective in eliminating and preventing the exploitation of children.
This report was produced by the staff of the International Child Labor Program and is published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs.