Based on the positive experiences to date, the USDOL provided additional support to continue this regional initiative. Please go to "Project History" for more information about the first phase of activities. While the overall objective remained the same, the second phase, which started in late 2004, focused on strengthening the regional alliance and mobilizing key parties to initiate relevant activities that use basic education and skills development to combat child labour.
The regional framework includes:
- Development of a regional communication mechanism and web site
- Activities to engage APEC as a regional body
- Publication of project experiences including the documentation and sharing of good practices
- Research and mapping of opportunities on decent and productive work for young people above the minimum working age as a strategy against the worst forms of child labour
The project’s second phase capitalized on the raised awareness and alliances to push for policy development that centres on improving access and quality of education to combat the worst forms of child labour. Local and national authorities were encouraged to take an integrated approach to combating child labour, promoting basic education and skills development as well as alleviating poverty. APEC representatives at country level have been, and continue to be, an important part of these efforts. Efforts to identify role model approaches and publicize them within APEC have been crucial to the project’s success.
Increased dialogue and sharing of experiences between key ministries, social partners, donors and other key parties has led to wider acceptance that the twin aims of Education For All and the elimination of child labour are crucial to national development. The State Planning Board organized a national conference on this theme. Following this, the publication of a new Medium-Term Development Plan and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper both raised the need to tackle child labour. Provincial forums were organized to build stronger links between local structures concerned with child labour and education which stimulated a range of local follow-up activity. In one area, the local education office and a community organization launched a "Back to School" campaign for children who dropped out of education. An innovative research survey examined some of the long-term implications for children who drop out of school at an early age to work.
A movement has been created against the economic exploitation of children within the country’s politically influential trade and teachers unions. Action on child labour and education was placed high on the agenda in the union structures of at least 5 States through information sessions leading to a specific union declaration. A landmark national union seminar sensitized union members to the problem of child labour and importance of education. This led to the development of a plan of action to help make relevant national and international legislation into a reality. The Ministry of Labour, the Workers’ Federation of Mexico (CTM), the Workers and Peasants Revolutionary Confederation (CROC), the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the ILO have collaborated on training on the causal factors leading to child labour. The CTM financed a regional seminar and the CROC presented a theatre production, both on child labour and education. A media information kit, pamphlets/posters and a radio spot were developed to support this work. Unions at the local level worked with communities to motivate action against child labour and in favour of education.
Over half the problem of child labour in Peru is located in the urban areas. San Isidro, which is a major financial district has the highest percentage of children working on the streets with very low access to education and mostly from poor families. These children come from the municipality of Callao. Local authorities and municipalities were encouraged to invest in education to combat child labour in the pilot sites of San Isidro and Callao. A municipal action guide on this subject was been produced. A visual community based campaign was organized through the dissemination of a video by the Peruvian Cinema Association, brochures and poster. A web site has been created and the media is also being engaged to spread the project’s message across the country. SCREAM (Supporting Children’s Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media) was used to promote a child friendly learning environment where teachers love to teach and children love to learn.
Capitalizing on the strength of the national child labour and education task force of the first phase, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Educational Research and Development Assistance Foundation, and the Children’s Laboratory for Drama in Education Foundation worked together to engage all the affected Regions. The local child labour and education task forces developed in the first phase are being formally integrated into the legal structure of governance and service delivery. This has led to legislation and budget allocations which support investments in education to combat child labour. Community watch groups to monitor child labour cases and children’s participation in schooling have also formed. ECOP mobilized employers to support skills training and apprenticeship for young people above the minimum working age.
Research was conducted to feed into education policy reform on how and what kind of education and skills training can best reach out-of-school children vulnerable to the worst forms of child labour, including in particular hill tribe and migrant children. The recent Thai cabinet approval for migrant and stateless children’s access to education makes the research on migrant children timely. The Office of the Education Council of the Ministry of Education has undertaken this research in Samut Sakhon which is also a project site of the ILO’s Mekong Sub-Regional Project to Combat Trafficking in Children and Women. Research on hill tribe children was undertaken by the National Council for Child and Youth Development (NCYD). NCYD also produced a model training curriculum for career counselling in rural schools to promote youth (self) – employment and motivate the government to replicate this on a wider scale. A national consultation was organized to disseminate the key findings and thus contribute to the Thailand government’s Education Reform Roadmap 2005 – 2008 and onwards.
Research was undertaken on the main obstacles to the universalization of Lower Secondary Education (ULSE) for working children in 5 provinces of Hanoi (capital city), Long An (Mekong Delta), Lao Cai (mountainous province), Hue (central province) and Dac Lac (central high land). The report on research findings and recommendations for ULSE to be achieved by 2010 was submitted to authorities for related policy and programme action. A teacher’s guidebook on child-centred teaching methods has been developed as a tool to improve teaching methodology and to make lessons more attractive and practical so that they can draw more working children back to classes. SCREAM has been used in the classroom and communities to highlight the importance of learning and the risks of child labour. Building on the first phase of awareness raising activities, a national advocacy forum was organized to encourage the participants and especially the media to send more targeted messages on the importance of education in preventing child labour and the ULSE targets for 2010.