Together Against Child Labor in Tunisia (PROTECTE)
The PROTECTE project is working to strengthen Tunisia’s ability to implement their Child Labor National Action Plan, a multi-stakeholder effort involving government, business, and civil society. The project will turn policy and promises into action by facilitating a comprehensive approach to safeguarding every child’s right to attend school and avoid exploitative labor.
A significant number of children in Tunisia engage in exploitative child labor, many of whom are among the estimated 100,000 children who drop out of school each year. Lacking in education and skills, these children are ill equipped to enter the formal job market when they come of age. Further, these children are vulnerable to human trafficking and to becoming child soldiers. Children are most often found working in the informal sector, disconnected from government services, in workshops, on farms, or in businesses run by their families. Children are also engaged in forced domestic work and in smuggling illicit goods in border areas.
In support of Tunisia’s Child Labor National Action Plan, the project works with key government and civil society stakeholders, especially the National Child Labor Steering Committee, to reduce the prevalence of child labor and strengthen the technical and operational abilities of these groups. The project has carried out research to better understand the nature, prevalence and harmfulness of child labor. The project has supported the Government of Tunisia’s efforts to establish coordination mechanisms for social service for vulnerable children, while also working with service providers to increase the comprehensiveness of efforts to ensure that a range of children’s needs are met. Additionally, the project has raised awareness among families, employers and the public of the dangers of child labor and the importance of keeping children safe and in school. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the project provided direct support to children at risk of engaging in hazardous work.
- To stem the spread of COVID-19, the project provided masks and gloves to more than 200 children in social protection centers in Tunis. This protective equipment was provided alongside tablets, computers and printers to support the children’s ongoing learning and development needs during the pandemic.
- The project helped design specific services for children in two key rural governorates, including education, vocational training, apprenticeship, and economic empowerment of vulnerable families. Rural areas have a higher incidence of child labor with children facing barriers receiving education due to poverty and inadequate transportation.
- The project established an effective government body to coordinate efforts across ministries to implement Tunisia's National Action Plan as it relates to child labor.
- With the project’s support, the government adopted a revised hazardous labor list, a critical tool in protecting children from dangerous work.
International Labor Organization (ILO)
Family and Children; the Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment; the Ministry of Interior; the Ministry of Justice; the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT); the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA); the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fishery (UTAP); and other civil society partners., Tunisia’s Ministry of Social Affairs (MSA); Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Women