Supporting Sustainable and Child Labor Free Vanilla-Growing Communities in SAVA (SAVABE)

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Project Duration: November 2016 - July 2020

Fiscal Year & Funding Amount:
FY2016: USD 4,000,000

The Problem

Madagascar is the world’s leading producer of vanilla, representing 85 percent of the global supply. In 2013, Madagascar exported over 2,260 tons of vanilla, valued at over $100 million and sourced approximately 20 percent of vanilla destined for the U.S. market. Over 80,000 farmers, mostly in the Sava region, earn income by growing vanilla on smallholder farms, while over 1,500 vanilla collectors and dozens of large vanilla exporters earn income by buying, processing, reselling, and exporting vanilla. According to a 2012 International Labor Organization study, approximately 20,000 children ages 12 to 17 work in the production of vanilla in Madagascar, accounting for nearly 32 percent of the sector’s workforce. Children are used to hand pollinate flowers and work in the triage and drying process. Children working in vanilla are exposed to high temperatures and also handle toxic chemical products, a hazardous activity that constitutes a worst form of child labor.

Our Strategy

The SAVABE project aims to reduce child labor in the vanilla producing areas of the Sava region of Madagascar through a holistic set of interventions. The project will assist vanilla exporters to implement the 2015 code of conduct to eliminate child labor in the country’s vanilla supply chain. In support of this, the project will work with vanilla exporters to develop anti-child labor policies, build systems to monitor child labor in the production of vanilla, offer remediation services to children engaged in child labor, and raise awareness of the harmful effects of child labor among employers, communities, and families.  To complement these efforts, the project will train law enforcement agents to enforce child labor laws and will collaborate with local authorities to develop a child labor database that will house information about child labor victims to help improve understanding about the drivers of child labor and strategies for addressing the problem.

The project will also work with local communities to monitor child labor through child protection committees, provide educational services to 5,450 children engaged in or at risk of entering child labor, and implement school improvement projects.  To address the poverty that contributes to child labor, the project will target 15,000 households of children engaged in, or at risk of, child labor for sustainable livelihoods promotion. In particular, the project will provide vocational training programs to impoverished families to teach them skills for in-demand jobs in their villages and will help establish village savings and loan programs for families to access credit to finance business ideas and activities to earn additional income to support their children’s education.

The project will operate in 32 communes in the four vanilla-growing districts that comprise the Sava region: Sambava, Antalaha, Vohemar, and Andapa.  

Grantee: International Labor Organization


Implementing Partners:
Sustainable Trade Initiative


Contact Information: (202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)


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