Combatting Child Labor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Cobalt Industry (COTECCO)

Project Duration:
October 2018
September 2022
Funding and Year:

The Cobalt project works to address child labor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) cobalt supply chain, with a focus on artisanal and small-scale mining. It supports key stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to reduce child labor and improve working conditions in artisanal and small-scale mines as well as in the broader cobalt supply chain.

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The Problem

Cobalt is widely used in the production of goods, including batteries for smartphones, computers, and electric vehicles, for which demand is growing. The DRC is a global leader in cobalt production and accounts for over 50 percent of the world’s cobalt reserves. Children routinely work in these mines, often under hazardous conditions. While mining is on the DRC’s list of hazardous activities for which children’s work is forbidden, the majority of cobalt mining in the DRC is done informally, where monitoring and enforcement are poor. 

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Our Strategy

The project works to reduce child labor in the cobalt supply chain by supporting efforts to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities to combat child labor, build the enforcement capacity of government and other relevant stakeholders, and improve private sector monitoring and remediation of child labor violations in the cobalt supply chain.

The Cobalt project supports efforts to enhance implementation and enforcement of laws, policies, and action plans that address child labor and working conditions in artisanal and small-scale mining in the DRC’s cobalt supply chain. It builds capacity and reinforces efforts at the national, provincial, and local levels in the sector.

The project also works to increase transparency and monitoring of child labor and working conditions in cobalt mining supply chains, particularly in artisanal and small-scale mines. In addition, the project helps the private sector to enhance its monitoring and remediation strategies in the sector.  Further, the project supports the development of a multi-stakeholder, sector-wide child labor monitoring system, and builds the capacity of the Government and other stakeholders to implement and maintain the system.

Grantee: International Labor Organization (ILO)
Implementing Partners: PACT
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843
Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)