Eliminating Child Labor in Mica-Producing Communities and Promoting Responsible Mica Sourcing in Madagascar and Globally (MICA)
The goal of the UNDP’s MICA project is to eliminate child labor in four communes in Madagascar and to promote environmentally- and socially-responsible mica mining by bolstering the resiliency of vulnerable households in mica producing communities, building government capacity, and increasing engagement with stakeholders.
Madagascar is the largest exporter of sheet mica, with 87% of Madagascar’s mica exported to China, where mica manufacturing companies produce high-quality mica products for the global electronics and automobile industries, many of which are exported to the U.S. market. Poor working conditions, economic exploitation, and health and safety risks to both workers and community members are evident in the mica communities. The majority of mica mining occurs in the most marginalized of communities of Madagascar.
Approximately 10,000 Malagasy children, as young as age 4, work in the worsts form of child labor alongside their families to extract mica in order to survive. These vulnerable children often face chronic food insecurity. Many children develop respiratory problems from the exposure to mica dust particles or face muscle and back pain from carrying heavy loads. Some children suffocate due to a lack of oxygen while mining underground.
The MICA project aims to eliminate child labor in mica-producing communities in Madagascar and promote environmentally- and socially-responsible mica mining by:
- Bolstering resiliency of members of vulnerable households in mica-producing communities by facilitating alternative livelihoods, early childhood care and primary education services, nutritional and health interventions, and by strengthening social services;
- Building the capacity of government officials to address child labor in the mica supply chain through skills-building and the promotion of inter-agency coordination; and
- Increasing engagement of non-governmental stakeholders to address child labor in the mica supply chain through mapping, introducing workplace standards at mines and processing units, building a fair economic model for the purchase of mica, and introducing an information management system to support companies’ due diligence requirements.
- The project will target 3,380 children for direct educational services and 1,575 household for livelihood services in three mica-producing communities in the Anosy Region.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Responsible Mining Initiative (RMI), Terre des Homme Netherlands, UNICEF