Eliminating Child Labor in El Salvador through Economic Empowerment and Social Inclusion
In December 2010, USDOL funded a 4-year, $10 million project to combat child labor, implemented by the International Labor Organization's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC). This project was developed through close collaboration with the Government of El Salvador. It will work at the national and local levels across the country in Communidades Solidarias, communities that the Salvadoran government has identified as among the most disadvantaged. It will link to and build upon the government's Comunidades Solidarias program, which supplements household income and provides basic social services to vulnerable families in these municipalities. It reflects President Obama's vision of development assistance based on partnerships that help countries achieve goals they set for themselves.
This project will help to rescue thousands of children from hazardous labor and provide them with access to quality schooling. It will also combat the root causes of child labor, by helping to raise incomes so that families, including vulnerable and female-headed families, need not depend on their children's labor. In addition to education for children, it will help provide vocational training for parents and youth and childcare for preschoolers. Beneficiaries will gain new skills, basic tools, and job placement services. Some will get technical help to start small businesses. In each municipality where it operates, the program will assess the labor market to match skills with opportunities for employment.
Past US-Funded Child Labor Projects in El Salvador
Since 1999, USDOL has funded child labor initiatives in El Salvador totaling $22.3 million, including:
Between 2001 and 2010, USDOL provided $11.3 million to fund El Salvador's National Time-Bound Program to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, implemented by ILO-IPEC. More than 35,000 children benefited from this initiative.
Between 1999 and 2004, USDOL funded a $1 million project to combat child labor. The project, implemented by ILO-IPEC, assisted more than 11,000 children.
Between 1998 and 2009, USDOL also supported six regional projects in Central America, which involved El Salvador. These projects, totaling $26.8 million, rescued more than 10,000 children from child labor in El Salvador.
USDOL-funded projects to combat child labor in El Salvador have helped:
- Develop a Plan to Combat the Worst Forms of Child Labor (2006-2009) in sugarcane, fishing, garbage-dump scavenging, fireworks, coffee, and informal urban labor marketplaces.
- Build the capacity of a child labor unit within the Ministry of Labor.
- Train labor inspectors on issues related to child labor.
- Incorporate child labor issues into El Salvador's National Household Survey and school registration census.
- Provide after-school educational activities to children who work or who are at-risk of working, using funding provided by the Salvadoran government.
- Raise awareness of child labor among teachers, children, and communities.
- Engage the private sector to combat child labor, particularly the sugarcane sector.