Skip to page content
Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Bookmark and Share

Countering Youth and Child Labor Through Education in Sierra Leone and Liberia

ILAB Program

Child Labor Education Initiative Technical Assistance Program


AFRICA/Liberia, Sierra Leone

Project Duration

September 2005 – March 2009

Fiscal Year & Funding Level

FY2005: $6,000,000

Problem to be Addressed

Child labor is prevalent in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Many children are employed in family businesses, subsistence farming, street trading, and domestic work. In both countries, children are trafficked from rural to urban areas and to diamond mining areas for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Following years of civil war, Sierra Leone and Liberia face massive infrastructure damage, teacher shortages, large numbers of youth who have missed years of schooling, and the challenge of reintegrating refuges, internally displaced persons, and former child soldiers. Causes of exploitive child labor include a lack of data on the problem; weak national institutions; and a lack of access to quality basic education and non-formal education opportunities.


The project targets 8,243 children for withdrawal and 21,647 for prevention from child soldiering and other worst forms of child labor. In Liberia, the project targets children from Lofa, Nimba, and Montserrado counties and in Sierra Leone, it focuses on children from Freetown, Kono district, and Tongo fields.

Project Objectives

Development Objective: This project will contribute to the sustainable elimination of exploitive child labor in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The project will achieve the following:

  1. Enrollment in educational services for children engaged in or at risk of engaging in exploitive child labor will be increased.
  2. Retention in and completion of educational services will be maximized and increased.
  3. National and local systems for monitoring and supporting education and eliminating exploitive child labor will be linked and strengthened.

Summary of Activities

  • Conduct a baseline study on exploitive child labor, and publish and disseminate the results.
  • Improve school access through activities such as providing tuition vouchers or scholarships, initiating school health activities, and promoting family income generation.
  • Improve school quality through activities such as improving basic infrastructure, providing school supplies, strengthening curricula, and supporting continuing education for teachers.
  • Provide non-formal education programs for children who have missed the opportunity to participate in formal schooling
  • Target communities, parents, and government officials with awareness raising activities on topics such as child rights, child labor issues, and the protective function of education.
  • Assist local partners with developing individual child tracking and project monitoring systems, including self-evaluation tools.

Major Accomplishments

  • As of March 2007, the project has withdrawn 2,405 children and prevented 7,768 children from exploitive labor.
  • The project has trained 67 public officials in Liberia on the value of education and the negative impact of child labor.
  • The project has trained 321 community representatives in Liberia and 243 community representatives in Sierra Leone to conduct child labor monitoring.

Partner Organizations

Implementing Agency
International Rescue Committee

Collaborating Agencies
International Initiative to End Child Labor, Organization for Children and Adolescent Mothers, African Network for the Prevention and Protection of Children against Abuse and Neglect, Save the Children of Africa Fund, and Community Action for Rural Development.

Contact Information

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking
U.S. Department of Labor
(202) 693-4843