Rwanda Education Alternatives for Children in Tea-Growing Areas (REACH-T)
The project will use an area-based approach to significantly reduce the incidence of exploitive child labor in the production of tea in Rwanda.
Approximately 142,500 children between the ages of 5 and 14 work in Rwanda. The majority of these children work in agriculture, with an unknown number in the production of tea. Children working in the production of tea work long hours, carry heavy loads, and are exposed to dangerous pesticides and fertilizers. Major factors contributing to child labor in Rwanda include household poverty, barriers to education, and limited inspection and enforcement of labor standards.
Intermediate objectives include:
- Supporting Government and tea industry efforts to combat child labor in the production of tea;
- Developing a child labor monitoring system and improving enforcement of labor laws relevant to child labor;
- Providing direct educational and livelihood services to targeted children and households;
- Increasing opportunities for decent and productive employment by youth;
- Performing research and collecting reliable data on child labor and developing effective strategies to address such issues;
- Raising awareness of exploitative child labor and its root causes in tea growing areas; and
- Ensuring active local ownership and long-term sustainability of efforts.
Summary of Activities:
- Develop a mobile-phone child labor monitoring system that links community-based monitoring to the Ministry of Public Service and Labor;
- Conduct a baseline survey and an endline survey on child labor prevalence in all tea producing regions of Rwanda;
- Establish a Roundtable on the Elimination of Child Labor and Sustainable Tea to develop a code of conduct for the Rwandan tea industry;
- Provide scholarships to children to attend formal primary schools and non-formal Catch Up program;
- Improve access to and quality of education through the provision of improved learning environments, including school infrastructure rehabilitation, and teacher training and peer mentoring;
- Support youth with agricultural vocational education and improved employment opportunities, including through linkages and advocacy with tea companies, establishment of Model Farm Schools, and provision of occupational safety equipment;
- Provide training and technical support to district labor inspectors to strengthen the enforcement of child labor laws on smallholder farms;
- Improve sustainable livelihoods of target households through the provision of entrepreneurship and life skills training;
- Raise awareness on child labor, the benefits of education, and hazards found in the production of tea among cooperative members and tea companies;
- Conduct an assessment of Rwanda’s labor inspection system and research on occupational safety and health in the tea sector; and
- Build the capacity of the Government, tea industry, child protection committees, and community activists to address child labor
The project will target 4,090 children engaged in or atrisk of entering exploitative child labor in Rwanda with a focus on the tea sector. The project will also target 1,320 vulnerable households for sustainable livelihoods promotion and operate in eleven of Rwanda’s rural districts—Nyaruguru, Huye, Nyamagabe, Karongi, Ngororero, Rubavu, Rutsiro, Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Rulindo, and Gicumbi.
As of March 31, 2017, the project has provided education services to 4,182 children engaged in or at-risk of entering child labor and 1,868 households received livelihood services.