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The ECLT Foundation works directly with communities in 6 countries.

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Tackling Child Labour: Insights from our work in the field

Child labour remains a pervasive issue in different regions, particularly in rural areas. The ECLT Foundation has been at the forefront of combating this complex problem through various on-the-ground interventions. This experience provides valuable insights into what works effectively in tackling child labour. Here are some key strategies and interventions that have proven successful in reducing child labour rates.

We believe in people and the power they have to transform their lives

One of the cornerstone strategies of ECLT involves engaging and empowering local communities. Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs) play a vital role in this regard. Comprising community members such as teachers, local government representatives, traditional leaders, and farm workers, CCPCs are instrumental in identifying and addressing child protection issues. By being closely acquainted with the community and regularly interacting with children, CCPCs can efficiently monitor and mitigate child labour risks. The proximity and familiarity allow for a more nuanced understanding and swift action against child labour.

Resilience and adaptability: crucial for economic development

Economic hardship is a primary driver of child labour. ECLT's efforts to improve farmers' incomes through various strategies are a very important part of our work on the ground. An example of this are the Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), an initiative that helps families to diversify and increase household incomes, and on that basis, become more resilient to economic shocks, thereby reducing the reliance on child labour during difficult times.

When women are financially empowered, children are safe

Promoting gender equality is crucial in the fight against child labour. Empowering women economically and socially can significantly impact child protection. ECLT’s initiatives in advancing women's economic empowerment, encouraging their participation in household decision-making, and involving them in child labour prevention systems have shown promising results. For example, women's financial literacy provides them with the tools to re-imagine their sources of income, and thus have the capacity to invest in their children's education and steer them away from any potentially dangerous work in the field.

Education: the world of possibility

Education is a fundamental right and a powerful tool against child labour. ECLT has implemented several education-related strategies aimed to ensure that children remain in school and receive quality education, which in turn reduces their likelihood of engaging in child labour. In countries such as Uganda, where school closures resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic were particularly long-lasting, the focus on education shows its relevance and urgency.

Helping young people chart a different path to the future

For older children, particularly those aged 15 to 17, who are at a higher risk of hazardous labour, providing vocational training and apprenticeship opportunities is essential. ECLT’s focus on technical and vocational education helps these youths acquire valuable skills, enhancing their future employment prospects and reducing their involvement in hazardous labour. One success story is the design and implementation of the La Máquina model in Guatemala.

Human Rights Advocacy

Ensuring that human rights are respected and protected throughout the supply chain is fundamental to addressing child labour. ECLT's advocacy efforts aim to raise awareness about children’s rights among all players in the supply chains, from farmers to corporate entities. Training and awareness-raising sessions help stakeholders understand the distinction between permissible light work and hazardous work, promoting a culture of respect for child rights and labour rights.

Coordinated Multi-Stakeholder Approaches

The fight against child labour requires a comprehensive and coordinated response involving all stakeholders, including industry players, governments, civil society organisations, and international bodies. ECLT’s collaborative approach ensures that efforts are harmonised and effective. By working together, these stakeholders can create an enabling environment that supports sustainable and long-lasting solutions to child labour. A recent milestone in this regard has been the Child Labour Indaba, a platform that brought together diverse voices from all sectors for one purpose: to effectively combat child labour in Zimbabwe.