GENEVA (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO-IPEC) has welcomed the award of the US Department of Labour of $59 million in new grants to combat child labour in 19 countries around the world.
Of the total amount of $59 million, ILO-IPEC has been awarded a total of US$39.4 million. A large part of these funds are to support ILO-IPEC country projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where despite the significant progress in the past years in combating child labour, millions of children are still forced to work at the expense of their health, education and future.
“The United States has been one of our main partners in the international fight to eliminate the worst forms of child labour. These grants will significantly bolster ILO-IPEC projects aimed at finding an effective and lasting solution to child labour”, said Michele Jankanish, Director of ILO-IPEC.
In addition to rescuing tens of thousands of children from child labour throughout the world, the funds will also help improve the collection and analysis of child labour data, support the development and implementation of national action plans on child labour and strengthen international partnerships involved in agriculture.
“These funds come at a critical time for the world’s most vulnerable, as the global economic crisis puts millions of poor working families under significant pressure. The ILO’s Global Jobs Pact adopted in June of this year to address the crisis calls for stepped up efforts to achieve the elimination and prevention of an increase in child labour. These grants constitute an important step in support of that goal”, said Ms. Jankanish.
In Africa, ILO-IPEC will receive more than $15 million for direct assistance projects in Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, and Zambia and for strengthening the policy framework of countries in the West Africa Economic Commission (ECOWAS). Another $11.5 million will go to projects in Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay while almost $5 million are earmarked for the Philippines and Indonesia. The ILO will also get more than $7 million for data collection and analysis, including $2.8 million to support ILO-IPEC’s Global Action Plan.
The Action Plan aims to eliminate the worst forms of child labour by 2016 and urges ILO member States to design and put in place appropriate time-bound measures in accordance with Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. Convention 182 has seen the fastest ratification in ILO history and is only 12 countries away from unprecedented universal ratification by all 183 ILO member States.