BuildCA2P: Building Capacity, Awareness, Advocacy and Programs Project
The BuildCA2P Project works to build the capacity of Filipino civil society to more effectively detect and combat child labor and other labor abuses in the crop agricultural sector in Mindanao, Philippines. It leverages partnerships with academic and advocacy organizations to build a grassroots movement, empower vulnerable families, connect survivors to grievance mechanisms and services, and reduce the risk that children will be harmed by performing hazardous work in agriculture.
The Mindanao region has one of the highest populations of child laborers in the Philippines. More than half (58.4%) of the child laborers in Mindanao are engaged in exploitative labor in the agricultural sector, including in the production of bananas, coconuts, corn, and rice. Children working on crop plantations are exposed to extreme heat and hazardous chemicals. Many work up to ten hours per day without adequate protection or rest time. While the government of the Philippines prohibits the employment of children below the age of 15 years, plantations often use a pakyaw (quota) system to hire workers, including children as young as five years old, to lower production costs. Civil society organizations (CSOs) play a critical role in working with and supporting local government on the implementation of relevant laws and policies to eliminate labor abuses. However, CSOs require some assistance in building their capacity to address the growing problems more effectively.
The BuildCA2P Project supports Mindanao’s civil society to better understand and address child labor and promote acceptable conditions of work in the production of bananas, coconuts, corn, and rice. The project does this by seeking to improve the capacity of CSOs to:
- identify and document accurate, independent, and objective information on the nature and scope of child labor and violations of acceptable conditions of work;
- raise awareness for the protection of workers from labor abuses; and
- implement initiatives to address child labor, forced labor, and violations of acceptable conditions of work.
The project works with three CSOs in the provinces of Bukidnon, North Cotabato, and Davao del Norte. Project activities support these CSOs by helping them build their skills in data collection methods, utilizing data, conducting awareness raising through existing channels in creative ways, advocating for the implementation of relevant policies to their local authorities, and establishing and/or invigorating efficient and effective grievance and referral mechanisms.
32 individuals (22 civil society and 10 government stakeholders) were provided with training or other support to improve enforcement of, or compliance with child labor, forced labor, or other worker rights laws or policies.
In Oct 2020, there CSOs implemented COVID emergency response activities targeting families of child laborers and conducting advocacy sessions to end child labor; benefiting 3,297 child laborers from 13 villages in all three targeted provinces in Mindanao. Research of data collected from beneficiaries of COIVD emergency response activities indicated the following:
- Beneficiaries comprised of 1,875 (57%) male and 1,422 (43%) female child laborers.
- While more boys than girls were involved in child labor the increased number of girls in child labor in farm activities and plantations is an indication that parents maximized the family’s manpower to add in their earnings.
- Among the three provinces, it is notable that the highest female child laborers are found in North Cotabato, most of them involved in rice farms, while male child laborers are relatively higher in Davao del Norte with little difference in North Cotabato.
In addition, Information Education and Communication (IEC) key messages were also promoted in October; comprising of materials used to campaign against child labor by clarifying the age appropriateness of child work, explaining the child labor law using drama and terminologies that is understandable to ordinary listeners. It also tackled COVID protection awareness.