ILO/IPEC Project on Sustainable Elimination of Child Bonded Labour in Nepal (SECBL – II)

The project is designed to support the bonded (child) labour among the additionally identified freed Kamaiyas and Haruwa/Charuwa system in agriculture in Nepal. It includes five districts of far and mid western Terai regions and three districts of central and eastern Terai regions. It focuses on the prevention, withdrawal and rehabilitation, including income generation and vocational training to these children and their families in Kailali and Kanchanpur, Bardia, Banke and Dang, Saptari, Siraha and Dhanusa.

Background and justification

Implementing agencies: Government of Nepal, Workers’ Organisations, Employers’ Organisations, NGOs and Community Organisations

This project addresses the ongoing problems associated with two systems of bonded labour in Nepal: the Kamaiya system and the Haruwa/Charuwa system. Children of families living under the Kamaiya or Haruwa/Charuwa systems either work under bondage or have been identified as being at risk of entering into the worst forms of child labour. They are also considered to be at high risk of becoming victims of human trafficking.

The Kamaiya system was formally abolished by the Kamaiya Labour Prohibition Act (2001). Whilst coordinated programs undertaken by the Government and a range of other development agencies have resulted in a significant reduction in the incidence of bonded child labour in these districts, the Government has since identified a further 13,000 freed Kamaiya families who did not benefit from these programs and require similar interventions.

The Haruwa/Charuwa system is not dissimilar to the Kamaiya system of bonded labour. A recent ILO/IPEC-commissioned study conducted in nine Village Development Committees (VDCs) of three Eastern Terai districts (Dhanusa, Siraha and Saptari) has revealed that there are around 1,600 Haruwa/Charuwa families in the surveyed VDCs.

Although the Government of Nepal has already undertaken a number of initiatives to address the needs of the recently identified 13,000 freed Kamaiya, it is clear that both the freed Kamaiya and those living under the Haruwa/Charuwa systems remain in need of a range of interventions. Phase II of the project follows on from Phase I and focuses on withdrawal from and prevention of bonded child labour. Phase II incorporates as much as possible the recommendations and lessons learned from Phase I, including the need to: provide higher education/training; develop overseas employment opportunities; simplify loan-approval processes for bonded labour families; revisit and revise project strategies according to the unfolding political developments; encourage the unionisation of bonded labour families; and, improve sustainability of project activities.

Development objective and immediate objectives

The program will work simultaneously with and among children, families and entire communities in the target districts. It will operate at two levels: direct action will be targeted directly towards the beneficiaries; indirect actions will focus on generalised capacity building and policy reform. All direct and indirect actions will be focused on the key issues of withdrawal, prevention and rehabilitation of child bonded labour.

Target groups

  • The target groups of Phase II of the project can be broken down according to the categories of intervention:
  • 9,600 boys and girls will be targeted for withdrawal from and prevention of child labour, through the provision of educational and non-educational services, of which: 3,000 boys and girls will be withdrawn from work; and 6,600 boys and girls will be prevented from becoming engaged in the worst forms of child labour;
  • 3,400 families in the target districts will benefit from supported entry into gainful self-employment, of which: 1,500 families will be provided with off-farm self-employment services; 1,500 families will be provided with off-farm self-employment services (including provision of inputs towards self-employment, technical support and market-linkages); and 400 adult men and women will be provided with employment in the job market after being provided with the required vocational/technical training;
  • 5,000 men and women will benefit from unionisation and the receipt of minimum wages without distinction according to sex; and
  • 2,000 men and women will benefit from the provision of non-formal adult education.


Phase II of the project has the following anticipated outcomes

  • Children and adult members of the targeted families in each district will receive appropriate forms of education, being either formal or non-formal (for example, vocational training);
  • Members of the targeted families will enter into gainful employment;
  • Agricultural workers in the target districts, with a particular focus on the freed Kamaiyas and Haruwas/Charuwas, will receive minimum agricultural wages that are equal for both men and women;
  • More generally, an enabling environment will be created for the effective implementation of the Kamaiya Labour Protection Act (2001)

Institutional framework

The Broad Based Task Force (BBTF), chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of Land Reform and Management, will operate as the Project Advisory Committee. As such, the BBTF will be required to approve all Action Programs. The Project will submit reports to the Task Force from time to time and the BBTF will review and appraise the activities and submit them to the National Steering Committee for its endorsement. The BBTF will also assist the in mobilising local participation, promoting local ownership of the project and improving project-sustainability.

An ILO team led by the National Chief Technical Advisor will be responsible for the day to day management of the project. Three projects will operate from three offices, one in Kathmandu and two field offices to be established in the Western Region and the Eastern Region.

For further information please contact:

International Labour Organization (ILO)
International Program on Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC)
P.O. Box 8971, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: +977 1 5555777
Fax: +977 1 5531332