My-PEC: Myanmar Program on the Elimination of Child Labor

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Region/Country:
Project Duration:
December 2013
-
December 2021
Funding and Year:
FY
2013
: USD
5,000,000
FY
2014
: USD
250,000
FY
2017
: USD
1,000,000
FY
2019
: USD
1,500,000

The goal of the project is to reduce child labor in Burma through the establishment of a comprehensive, inclusive, and efficient multi-stakeholder response.

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The Problem

Before the project began, there was no comprehensive, reliable data on the incidence and nature of child labor in Burma. Anecdotal evidence suggested that child labor most likely existed in the agriculture sector and in the informal economy where the poorest and most vulnerable families are employed. On December 18, 2013, the Government ratified ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, but the Government had not yet developed specific policies or programs to address the issue. Neither national nor state/regional authorities had been trained or sensitized on definitions or concepts related to child labor, or on the differences between child labor and child work.

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Our Strategy

The project helps reduce child labor in Burma through multiple approaches, including by providing technical support to the government in its efforts to collect and analyze national level data on child labor. In addition, the project has conducted targeted awareness-raising campaigns on the worst forms of child labor; promoted the adoption of legal and policy reforms in compliance with international standards; provided training to the labor inspectorate on child labor; and supported the establishment of a Child Labor Monitoring System and referral mechanism.

Additionally, the project has established pilot models in three selected areas to remove and prevent child laborers from engaging in the worst forms of child labor by promoting children’s access to quality education and providing livelihood interventions for their households.

In December 2019, the project was extended and received additional funding to conduct further awareness-raising campaigns as well as training for government officials and social partners on ILO Convention 138 and the country’s hazardous work list. Prior to the military coup in February 2021, the project supported the application of the National Child Labor Monitoring system and efforts to improve coordination across relevant governmental bodies. Post-coup, the project has ceased all technical assistance to the government. The project continues to provide direct services to child laborers and their households, focusing its efforts on supporting local communities.

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Results

  • The project provided trainings and guidance to the Government of Burma on the development of its first Hazardous Work List. An essential tool in the fight against the worst forms of child labor, the List prohibits the employment of children below 18 years of age in hazardous occupations.  
  • In June 2020, the Government of Burma ratified the International Labor Organization Minimum Age Convention (C138), a key milestone in Burma’s commitment to address child labor. This achievement was made possible through the project’s continuous support in providing policy ratification recommendations over the course of several years. 
  • In 2016, Burma published its first-ever Labor Force, Child Labor and School to Work Transition Survey, which includes data on women’s participation in the labor force, child labor, and the transition of youth from school to work. The survey, which aims to inform child labor programing and policy, was led by the Government of Burma with technical support from the project on survey implementation and publication.  

The My-PEC project has also: 

  • Provided technical assistance to amend The Shops and Establishments Act and The Factories Act to be in line with international standards. This raised the minimum age for work to 14 years of age and the minimum age for hazardous work to 18 years in both Acts.
  • Convened a National Consultation Workshop to develop the country’s first National Action Plan on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, which was held in March 2017. There were four workshops held for regional, youth, and specific industrial zone participation leading up to the national workshop.
  • Assisted the Myanmar Garment Manufacturer Association’s efforts to mainstream child labor concerns into its ten-year Strategic Plan and Code of Conduct
  • Provided education services to 3,514 children engaged in or at-risk of entering child labor and livelihood services to 1,314 households. 
  • Trained 78 labor inspectors and law enforcement officials and 500 teachers on child labor concepts.
  • Published a number of research, policy, and instructional papers, such as: a review of the child labor legal framework; a background report for the National Action Plan on Child Labor; a training manual for labor inspectors; and a rapid assessment on child domestic work
  • Supported COVID-19 response activities to assist communities in coping with the pandemic.
Grantee: International Labor Organization (ILO)
Implementing Partners: Centre for Rural Education and Development, AVSI Foundation, employers’, and civil society organizations, AFFM-IUF, and other workers’, Hope for Shining Stars, Jeepyah Civil Society Development Organization, MICS, Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Information (MoI), Ministry of Labor Immigration and Population (MoLIP), Ministry of Social Welfare Relief and Resettlement (MoSWRR), Mon Cetana Development foundation, Mon National Education Committee, Myanmar’s Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (RUMFCCI), PhotoDoc Association, Ratana Metta Organization, Sympathy Hands Community Development Organization, World Vision International Myanmar, Yin Thway Nge Foundation
Contact Information:
GlobalKids@ILAB.dol.gov
/
Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)