Good Practice

Combating hazardous and exploitative child labour in surgical instruments manufacturing through prevention, withdrawal and rehabilitation - Phase II - Final Evaluation

Project documentation | 24 October 2017
Contact(s): IPEC
Good Practice Description

Although the implementing partners of the project were meant to organize communities of the target groups for support in further activities whereby they could potentially have secured access to government funds for educational and other welfare schemes during the phasing out of the ILO-IPEC project, this did not happen. The implementing Non-government Organizations (NGOs) pointed out that some project funding should have been set aside for ensuring the sustainability of project interventions or capitalizing on emergent opportunities, like creating a common platform or vendors (a possibility mentioned by Sudhar). Project partners themselves were however also supposed to try to help children within their NFEs secure scholarships, and to provide poor families access to other government offered social safety nets. While some instances of this may exist on ground, they do not seem to be statistically significant. The bridging phase has thus particularly aimed to provide microcredits.

Phase II of the surgical project did adopt a flexible and process-based approach for eradication of child labour by means of identifying age cohorts and identifying corresponding actions for these cohorts. Implementing partners mentioned for instance that they had adopted a zero tolerance for children under nine years of age working at all and insisted that these children be sent to NFE and then be mainstreamed. Conversely, the project operated NFEs remained willing to enrol older children into its NFE centres even if they were still working at the vendor workshops. As the surgical industry was declared 'hazardous', it is not admissible even for children over 14 to be working in it, albeit some processes are more hazardous than others, which enabled identification of numerous areas within the vendor workshops where children over 14 to work under approved conditions like strict adult supervision, work for not more than four hours, provided they are also getting an education.

Prior to the ILO-IPEC project intervention, there was not much authentic information available on the volume and related issues concerning child labour in the surgical industry in Sialkot. ILO-IPEC commissioned surveys for Phase I and II of the project have provided a greater understanding of the scope of the problem. Other project activities have added to the knowledge base concerning child labour and OSH issues in the surgical instruments industry. A comprehensive child profile, on the approved format devised by ILO-IPEC in Geneva was also computerized (it was this same format which should have been used to ensure duplication being prevented under the TBP support project).

Realising the need for ownership of the project interventions by the stakeholders, 90 Community Education Committees were organized by the project. The project also managed to mobilize 160 allied community groups comprising of mothers, vendors and children. 83 teachers' training workshops were conducted by the implementing agencies, to provide teachers modern techniques of teaching, joyful learning, multigrade system and psychology of the working children. The community had in turn contributed more than 100,000 rupees for children activities in different NFE centres. The community had paid electricity bills, provided encouragement awards, sport kits, drawing books and colour pencils to NFE children. Subsequently, some of these interventions like the community based schools established by NFE teachers (mentioned in detail in the sub-sections above) are still operational on ground to date.

While the surgical project has not yielded replicable models, some of its achievements can be built upon within the context of the Sialkot Initiative and by the National Time Bound Programme which is to be implemented from 2008 to 2016, whereby the Ministry of Labour has envisioned creation of a federal and provincial level coordination committees, which would also be replicated at the district level and involve public private partnerships to focus on labour within the formal as well as informal sectors. ILO has expressed its willingness to work with the government in Sialkot, since it has already put in place a mechanism to this effect under the TBP support project. The intention to pilot labour inspections would be undertaken within the context.