ILO and partners introduce key global toolkit to respond to child labour in Iraq

The toolkit, developed by the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, provides practical tools and case studies for humanitarian actors and other agencies on ways to respond to child labour.

News | 28 July 2022
Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (ILO News) The International Labour Organization (ILO), in collaboration with the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, conducted a five-day training to introduce a new global interagency child labour toolkit in Iraq. The training on the toolkit was co-facilitated by Bent Al-Rafedain Organization (BROB), bringing together representatives from national and international organizations from across Iraq, who are working in the field of child protection and child labour.

The toolkit "Preventing and Responding to Child Labour in Humanitarian Action"  is based on evidence from multiple contexts and encompasses practical tools and case studies from different countries, including Iraq. It was developed by the Global Child Labour Task Force of the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, to guide humanitarian actors and other agencies in their response to child labour. The Task Force is co-led by Plan International and the ILO.

The training is part of a series of capacity building efforts that the ILO has been providing under its Tackling the worst forms of child labour amongst IDPs, refugees, and vulnerable host communities in Iraq project, which is supported by the European Regional Development and Protection Programme for Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq (RDPP II).

“We would like to welcome the practitioners who have been active in the child protection arena and who are advocates in tackling child labour across Iraq,” said ILO Country Coordinator in Iraq Maha Kattaa. “Iraq is the first country in the region to roll out this very important toolkit. We are looking forward to collaborating with the participants in addressing child labour and supporting the development and education of children, taking into consideration the priorities and needs of the IDPs and refugees.”

The training focused on a number of issues related to child labour, including a review of current national and international legal frameworks, and identified legal and policy gaps related to addressing children labour.

It also covered topics on core action to prevent and respond to child labour in Iraq, including identifying risks, and proactive factors across each of the socio-economic levels which impact children’s vulnerability to child labour. The training also highlighted the importance of implementing awareness raising and advocacy campaigns through group activities and how to tailor messaging and advocacy on child labour.

“We had a very good group of child protection actors from various parts of Iraq,” said Peter Matz, a consultant with the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action. “We discussed how to coordinate on child labour issues, what are some of the programmatic actions that can be taken, all with the idea of rolling this toolkit on child labour in humanitarian situations out.”

“This is the first time this training is taking place in Iraq,” added Aliaa Al Ansary, the Executive Director of BROB. “The training sheds light on child labour specifically and this is important because child labour is usually looked at as part of child protection but here we are, with our partners, ensuring that child labour is dealt with as its own area of specialization.”

The participants of the training will act not only as trainers, but also as advocates to ensure a wide and comprehensive national roll out of the toolkit.

“This was a great opportunity for us to establish a closer collaboration and coordination with different actors aiming to respond to different child protection issues, especially child labour,” said Ramon Bzheo, Child Protection Coordinator with the International Rescue Committee.

Under its RDPP-support project, the ILO is tackling the worst forms of child labour in Iraq, through various activities. They include the establishment of a Child Labour Monitoring System, increasing access to quality education for children, providing skills training and income-generating activities to older siblings and caretakers of vulnerable children, and supporting the development of a National Action Plan against child labour, in collaboration with ILO’s tripartite partners and other relevant partners.