In the course of a press tour organised by the Kyrgyz Government with participation of UN agencies, journalists could have a look at the outcomes of the ILO project. The project was implemented to assist public agencies, organisations of employers and workers in developing and implementing policies for sustainable elimination of forced labour and the worst forms of child labour as part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
As part of the press tour, journalists visited the Kelechek day care centre organised under the Babur general secondary school in the Kara-Suu District where they could attend a consultation meeting between parents of the identified child workers and representatives of commissions for child affairs to discuss problems that families faced regarding access to various social services.
Journalists also learned how child workers were identified in practice. In 2017, while a monitoring mechanism was being introduced in Osh and Kara-Suu, the Osh municipal authorities and Kara-Suu district administration approved local action plans and set up special monitoring groups composed of community counselors, inspectors for child affairs and representatives of the civil society.
From May 2017 to June 2018 two monitoring groups at Osh and Kara-Suu identified more than 300 child workers from 64 families.
Under the resolutions passed by commissions for child affairs, the identified child workers were referred to social services (health, education, psychological, legal assistance, document recovery, employment of adult family members, provision of benefits etc.).
Moreover, children and families were provided with food rations and stationery supplies while social integration and rehabilitation events were organised for children. Supplementary (informal) learning was organised for those with education gaps who, once these gaps are closed, will be able to return to school or continue studies at vocational training schools.
Assistance under the project was made available to two day care centres – Mol Bulak in Osh and Kelechek in Kara-Suu – which also provided services to children and members of their families.
In addition, the press tour participants attended a business café with parents who had completed a course in basic business practices under the ILO programme “Start and Improve Your Business” to prevent the worst forms of child labour.
A total of 40 parents and adult family members in hardship completed training under this program.
“The purpose of training is to develop business skills of parents, provide families with broader economic opportunities and create a space for alternative employment and additional sources of income for adult family members”, said Zeinep Eshmuratova, head of the Centre for Development and Protection of Vulnerable Population.
She is convinced that child labour obstructs children’s access to education. “This will prevent them from accessing decent work and skilled occupations later in their life”.
As press tour participants could see for themselves in getting acquainted with the ILO project, assistance of this kind could potentially provide vulnerable families with broader economic opportunities and make basic social services accessible to children.