Reducing Child Labor through Education and Service (R-CLES)

Project Duration
December 2012
July 2017
Funding and Year

The project will reduce the overall number of children engaged in exploitative child labor in artisanal gold mines and cotton fields of Burkina Faso. In the three targeted regions, the project will provide services to promote children’s ability to access educational opportunities and awareness of the long term benefits of schooling. The project will also assist households in meeting their livelihood needs in order to reduce their reliance on child labor.

The Problem

An estimated 1.25 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 (37.8%) work in Burkina Faso, many of them in hazardous child labor and forced labor in gold and cotton. Drivers of the phenomena include poverty (particularly in rural areas), lack of awareness, limited government capacity to monitor and enforce child labor laws, and barriers to children accessing education.

The regions of Boucle de Mouhoun, Cascades and HautsBassins are among the most affected. Roughly 34 percent of children work in Boucle du Mouhoun, 25.5 percent in Cascades and 17.3 percent in Hauts-Bassins.

Our Strategy

The project is organized around achievement of the following four objectives:

  • Awareness raising and social protection
  • Education of current and at-risk child laborers
  • Livelihoods and youth employment
  • Strengthening institutional capacity and policies

Summary of Activities:

  • Increased awareness raising on the dangers and impacts of child labor and the specific hazards encountered in the cotton farming and artisanal gold mining.
  • Increased educational opportunities and skills of children and youth engaged, or at risk of being, engaged to child labor through
    • Formal education
    • Non-formal education
    • Vocational service opportunities
  • Sustainable livelihoods for households and youth employment promoted as alternatives to child labor through
    • Village Savings and Loan Associations and linkages to finance opportunities
    • Household livelihood activities
    • Youth employment as alternative
  • The capacity of the Government of Burkina Faso and its technical departments enhanced and tools developed to monitor and combat child labor in Burkina Faso, including through action in the following areas
    • Development of a community-based Child Labor Monitoring System
  • Supporting research, evaluation and collection of reliable data on child labor 



The project will address the key drivers of child labor and directly benefit more than 10,000 youth working in the artisanal gold mining or conventional cotton fields and 1,000 households.

  • 4,000 children and youth engaged in exploitative child labor will be withdrawn from such work and enrolled in educational programs;
  • An additional 6,000 children at high risk of entering child labor will be enrolled in formal education services; and
  • Support to 1,000 households to develop safe, alternative sources of livelihoods and income.


As of September 30, 2016, the project has provided education or vocational services to 8,559 children and livelihood services to 1,639 households.

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