Nearly 3 million children in Indonesia are involved in child labour. The agricultural sector accounts for 57% of child labour in Indonesia, where children work for family farming as unpaid workers and in paid work on plantations such as tobacco, palm oil, rubber, sugar cane and other commodities.
Five years ago, ECLT began a partnership with the SMERU Research Institute to conduct the first comprehensive study on the nature and root causes of child labour in agriculture with a special emphasis on tobacco farming in the selected areas of East Java and Lombok. The study found that although good efforts were being put in place by the Government, tobacco companies and civil society, in isolation they would not bring sustainable change on the issue child labour. The need for a multi-stakeholder partnership emerged.
Partnership in Action Against Child Labour in Agriculture
In 2018, the Indonesian State Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS) and ECLT coordinated the first meeting of the ‘Partnership in Action Against Child Labour in Agriculture’ (PAACLA) bringing together relevant national and local stakeholders against child labour. PAACLA provides a platform for civil society, Governmental Ministries and the private sector share best practices and align strategies to compliment and strengthen existing efforts. To support national level engagements, in 2019 PAACLA launched a project to operationalise some of the outcomes of PAACLA consultations and advance progress in the fight against child labour, called KESEMPATAN.
“KESEMPATAN” an Indonesian solution for Indonesian children
Indonesian Organisation and ECLT’s project partner JARAK, after consultation with Bappenas and PAACLA members, developed a project entitled “Strengthening Stakeholder Cooperation and Coordination against Child Labour in Agriculture in Indonesia”, locally referred to as KESEMPATAN to strengthen cooperation and coordination amongst stakeholders.
It is still early days, but the project has laid down some solid foundations, gaining support from national and local authorities, non-governmental organisations and the private sector. An important first step of KESEMPATAN is social mapping. This means understanding the critical context components in the villages targeted by the project, where child labour is an issue. Socio-economic conditions, cultivation and harvest seasons, type of work done on farms in the area, the daily activities of children, vulnerable households and farmers. Understanding the local context means that the activities can be specifically targeted to the needs of the community. Involving community members in the social mapping promotes both participation and local ownership.
Child friendly villages are a key component of the KESEMPATAN project. They provide children is a safe and secure environment where all children can play, grow and learn with access to quality education. Child Friendly Villages should also provide a platform for children's voices to be heard and accepted by adults. Creating a child friendly atmosphere within rural communities promotes local owership for a long-lasting change in the fight against child labour.
A brighter future in Indonesia
Over the course of the next two years, the KESEMPATAN project will directly reach an estimated 3,000 children and 600 adults in the fight against child labour in Indonesia. The institutional support of PAACLA ensures sustainability of the project beyond 2022, bring long-lasting change for the children, families and famers.