Proyecto Semilla (Seed Project): Combating Exploitative Rural Child Labor in Peru

Project Duration
December 2011
December 2019
Funding and Year

The Problem

Approximately 2.3 million children are estimated to work in Peru. The majority of children work in agriculture, commerce, and domestic service. Many children also work in mines, where they are exposed to harmful chemicals. Exploitative child labor is more prevalent in rural areas than in urban, and indigenous children are nearly twice as likely as other Peruvian children to live in poverty and, as a result, engage in child labor. Social and economic exclusion, poverty, and poor access to quality education leave many households vulnerable to exploitative child labor. 

Our Strategy

Reduce exploitative child labor in agriculture and in rural areas through the following objectives:

  • Provide direct educational services to targeted children and sustainable livelihood services to members of their households;
  • Support national institutions to improve policies, programs, and delivery of education, social protection, and sustainable livelihood services;
  • Raise awareness of exploitative child labor and its root causes and the importance of education for all children;
  • Mobilize stakeholders to improve and expand educational opportunities;
  • Support research and the collection of reliable data on child labor and its root causes, as well as effective strategies to address it; and
  • Ensure long-term sustainability of these efforts.

Summary of Activities:

The project is designed to reach these objectives through the following activities:

  • Provide educational support and vocational training to targeted children, including academic leveling, tutoring, and after-school programs to help children succeed and stay in school; 
  • Improve the quality of rural schools, especially multi-grade schools, through teacher support and training, improvements to school equipment, and increased community involvement in schools;
  • Provide livelihood support to targeted families involved in agriculture and seasonal migration for informal work. Support includes training and peerto-peer assistance on improving crop yields and harvest management, connecting targeted families to existing social protection services, and the introduction of technological improvements that can replace child labor in agricultural production.
  • Provide technical support, capacity-building initiatives, and facilitate regional exchanges for local and national government institutions to improve policies, legislation, and service delivery;
  • Provide technical assistance and facilitate regional exchanges for indigenous and civil society organizations to foment their coordination with government institutions on child labor issues;
  • Raise awareness on child labor and the importance of education throughout the target areas and across all levels of project stakeholders; and
  • Conduct research and disseminate findings on the impact of government social protection systems on exploitative child labor, the relationship between household characteristics and child labor, and the specific occupational hazards associated with child labor.
  • Provide technical support to government ministries and regional governments so they can fully adopt education and livelihood programs to combat child labor, as well as systems to monitor and evaluate those programs.
  • Provide technical support to government ministries and regional governments to include child labor issues in their policies and programs.


Targets: The project targets 7,650 children engaged in and atrisk of entering exploitative child labor in Peru with a focus on agriculture other types of child labor in rural areas. In addition, the project will target 3,000 households of targeted children to promote sustainable livelihoods. The project will operate in the province of Lima and in the Huancavelica, Pasco, and Junín regions.

Learn About Our Success

Photo by Desarrollo y Autogestión (DYA)

Melisa -- a member of the Yánesha people, one of Peru’s indigenous communities -- was ready to drop out of school when she reached the ninth grade, Among other things, the arduous six-hour commute to the nearest high school was making it nearly impossible for her to get her education.

Desarrollo y Autogestión (DYA)
Implementing Partners:
World Learning Inc. and Centro de Estudios y Promoción del Desarrollo (DESCO)
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor