Actions to Reduce Child Labor (ARCH) in Areas of Rubber Production
Approximately 360,000 children between the ages of 5 and 15 (or 33 percent) work in Liberia, primarily in agriculture. A significant number of children are engaged in the production of rubber on smallholder farms and large-scale plantations. Many children involved in the rubber sector are unable to attend school and are engaged in dangerous working conditions. Major factors contributing to child labor in the Liberian rubber sector include household poverty, the existence of worker quota production systems, the high cost of adult labor, a lack of awareness, limited access to education, and limited inspection and enforcement of labor standards.
Using a blended area and sector-based approach, reduce exploitative child labor in areas of rubber production through the following intermediate objectives:
- Support Government and industry efforts to improve policies, programs and delivery of education, social protection and sustainable livelihood services;
- Provide direct educational and sustainable livelihood services to targeted children and households;
- Increase opportunities for decent and productive employment by youth;
- Link with social protection networks to improve access to services by vulnerable groups;
- Perform research and collect reliable data on child labor and worker safety, as well as develop effective strategies to address such issues;
- Raise awareness of exploitative child labor and its root causes; and
- Improve public access to information, ensure active local ownership and long-term sustainability of efforts
Summary of Activities:
The project is designed to reach these objectives through the following activities:
- Work with the Government, unions, industry and civil society to develop and capture best practices, and develop occupational safety and health guidelines for the rubber-agriculture sector;
- Establish an Advisory Council made up of Government, union, industry and civil society members to share information regarding developments in the rubber sector and advise future efforts;
- Improve access to and quality of education through the provision of improved learning environments, including school infrastructure rehabilitation, curriculum development and provision of teacher training and peer mentoring;
- Improve sustainable livelihoods, including through linkages and advocacy with rubber companies, establishment of Model Farm Schools and provision of occupational safety equipment;
- Provide training and technical support to Governmental institutions and industry groups, including on international labor standards;
- Improve stakeholders’ capacity to enforce child labor and worker safety provisions in land-lease/ concession and collective bargaining agreements;
- Establish Champion Communities and Child Labor Monitoring Committees; and
- Raise awareness on child labor and the importance of education throughout the target areas.
The project targets 10,100 children engaged in or atrisk of entering exploitative child labor in Liberia with a focus on the rubber sector. In addition, the project targets 3,700 vulnerable households for sustainable livelihoods promotion. The project operates in the counties of Montserrado, Margibi, and Nimba.
As of March 31, 2017, the project has provided education services to 10,126 children and livelihood services to 3,700 households.