New program 'Work: No Child’s Business' launched to help eliminate child labor

Today, almost one in every ten children between the ages of five and seventeen is involved in child labor. The Alliance, together with communities, schools, governments, civil society organizations, trade unions and private actors, will work on ensuring that children and youth are free from child labour and enjoy their rights to quality education and (future) decent work, hereby contributing to Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 (to end all forms of child labor by 2025).

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced support of €35 million to Stop Child Labour (coordinated by Hivos), UNICEF Netherlands and Save the Children the Netherlands. The three Alliance partners have jointly developed “Work: No Child’s Business” with the aim to make a strong and lasting contribution to the elimination of child labor. This aim is closely aligned with the commitment of the Dutch government and parliament to invest in combating child labor. “Work: No Child’s Business” will be launched this summer (2019) and will last until 2024.

We specifically aim to achieve this impact in six countries with a high prevalence of child labor: Côte d’Ivoire, India, Jordan, Mali, Uganda and Viet Nam. The community focus of this program complements the Dutch Ministries’ approaches to combat child labor in cooperation with businesses and local governments.

During the symposium on May 23, 2019, marking 15 years Stop Child Labour Sofie Ovaa (program manager of Stop Child Labour) expressed her deep gratitude for the Dutch Foreign Ministry’s support: “This is indeed a unique opportunity to work together as Stop Child Labour with Save the Children and UNICEF. In this Alliance we will bring together our expertise and experience, which will allow us to scale up action against child labor. Practical examples of successful action will be shared to encourage and inspire more stakeholders, including governments and companies, to come on board and play their role in the fight against child labor. This will impact the lives of thousands more families and children, and will bring social economic development in their communities and beyond.”

Area-based and supply chain approaches to address root causes of child labor

The Alliance will address the root causes of child labor and its pervasive impact on children, youth, their families and communities. We will adopt an area-based approach, working from bottom up with all relevant stakeholders to remove key barriers to the elimination of child labor and to the protection and fulfilment of child rights. We apply this approach to get children in specific geographic areas out of child labor and (back) into school. It also includes creating a protective environment for children, with increased access to social services.

In the areas where we work we have identified sectors with a high incidence of child labor. Here we will also implement a supply chain approach to bring about change in the following sectors: gold/mining; garment, textiles & footwear; natural stone; cocoa; and informal and/or domestic work. The supply chain approach is closely connected to the area-based approach because companies alone cannot eliminate child labor in the lower tiers of their supply chains as long as there is no concerted action at the community level.

Together, the Alliance partners have a strong global presence and existing networks of national and local implementing offices and partners, which allows for engagement with supply chain actors beyond the Dutch context, at the EU, national and community levels.