Strengthening child labour data analysis capacities in Pakistan

The ILO in Pakistan, through its Asia Regional Child Labour (ARC) Project, funded by Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) trained 70 stakeholders on child labour data analysis in a bid to strengthen capacities as they embark on provincial child labour surveys.

Press release | Islamabad, Pakistan | 20 August 2021
ISLAMABAD (ILO News): The ILO Country Office for Pakistan, through its Asia Regional Child Labour (ARC) Project funded by Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) organized capacity strengthening trainings on child labour data analysis in Islamabad and Karachi from 7-8 July and 13-14 July 2021 respectively.

The training brought together representatives from Bureaus of Statistics, Departments of Labour and Human Resource Development, Planning and Development Department, SDGs Units, Workers and Employers’ organizations, National Commission on Child Rights (NCRC), National Action and Coordination Group (NACG), Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan Institute for Development Economics (PIDE), Society for Protection and Rights of Children (SPARC), Pakistan Institute for Labour Education and Rights (PILER), British Council-AWAZ II Project, UNICEF, Centre for Evaluation and Development (C4ED) and the ILO.

Islamabad | 7-8 July 2021

Regular and valid data was critical to inform policy and programmes and report the progress on the compliance of ratified conventions”. This was stated by Ms Alia Shahid, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development during the inaugural session of the Child Labour Survey (CLS) analysis training held in Islamabad for 40 representatives from Islamabad Capital Territory, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. Ms Shahid informed participants that the Government of Pakistan was making efforts to eliminate child labour through legislative actions.

Mr Sajid Rasool, Director General, Bureau of Statistics, Punjab congratulated participants on the successful completion of the Child Labour Survey (CLS) for which, the Government of Punjab allocated PKR. 95,638,000. He shared implementation challenges including delays posed by the COVID 19 pandemic.

Recognizing the importance of the 2021 as International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, Ms Ingrid Christensen, Country Director, ILO Pakistan welcomed participants and emphasized accelerated and effective actions to support the attainment of SDG Target 8.7 (immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour). 

Ms Munawar Sultana, National Project Coordinator, ARC Project, referred to the Child Labour: Global Estimates 2020, (jointly analysed and published by ILO and UNICEF) indicating 160 million children aged 5 to 17 engaged in child labour, with 79 million involved in hazardous work. The report warned that globally, nine million additional children were at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022 because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Ms Sultana referred to infrequent and unsystematic data collection systems, with the last National CLS in Pakistan undertaken in 1996 and the current CLS launched in March 2019, at high financial cost. She underscored the critical need to improve data collection systems and capacities in data analysis to enable reporting on international treaties including UN Child Rights Convention (CRC), ILO Conventions No. 138 and 182 and SDG Target 8.7.

Mr Saghir Bukhari, Senior Programme Officer, ILO Pakistan discussed national efforts to tackle and measure child labour. These included capacity building of statistical organizations on ILO’s Statistical Information and Monitoring Programme on Child Labour (SIMPOC) methodology in 2018, the on-going CLS-jointly implemented by provincial Governments with UNICEF and ILOs technical support through review of draft CLS reports and policy analysis.

Karachi | 13-14 July 2021

The training in Karachi brought together 30 representatives from Balochistan and Sindh.

Honourable Mr Rasheed Ahmed Solangi, Secretary Department of Labour and Human Resource Development, Sindh, apprised participants on legislations and other actions to address child labour including social protection schemes to support families vulnerable to child labour and the notification on increasing minimum wages to PKR 25,000 for unskilled workers in Sindh. Mr Solangi said, “recognizing the need for regular data on child labour for informing policies and programmes, the Government of Sindh had allocated PKR. 96,300,000 for the implementation of CLS in Sindh”. He requested Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to consider embedding a child labour module in LFS to regularise the collection of CL data.

Updating on CLS , Mr Syed Farrukh Hamayun Zaidi, Joint Director, DOL, Sindh, highlighted the completion of household listing and that the Chief Minister, Sindh had approved the transfer of funds to UNICEF for the CLS, which will follow the recruitment and training of survey teams and data collection between September and November, 2021.

All children have the right to be protected from child labour. They also have a right to education, a right to health and a right to a childhood”, stated Ms Belinda Chanda, Programme Analyst, ILO Office for Pakistan, while inaugurating the training in Karachi. Referring to the estimates of Pakistan Child labour Survey (1996) 3.3 million children aged 5 to 14 as being economically active; she signalled such statistics, undeniable cause for concern, requiring concerted action to generate regular child labour data. Ms Chanda underscored the importance of strengthening national capacities on child labour data analysis in order to contribute to regular and improved measurement of CL, and to translate evidence into policy and the policy into action.

Training Methodology

The trainings were delivered by Ms Maria Gabriella and Mr Guarcello, Lorenzo, Technical Specialists from ILO’s FUNDAMENTALS Department and co-facilitated by ILO Pakistan.

The lead trainers explained the conceptual framework and legal definition of CL, 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) and the implications for CL measurement. Participants deliberated in groups and identified indicators using Pakistan’s LFS. Risk factors affecting, measuring child labour and guidelines for developing country-level analysis and other reporting tools were discussed in detail.

Training Outcome

The process initiated by the ILO-ARC Project helped demystify the key CL concepts and steered towards frequent, systematic and inexpensive measurement of child labour. Participants were also acquainted using data in policy design, regular and systematic data collection, building CL indicators from existing Labour Force Surveys (LFS) and improving survey tools for subsequent LFS’.

Participants shared suggestions to improve CL indicator development and complement the LFS with CL module by engaging Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives for policy decision, making necessary amendments in generating data in line with the CL age categories for SDGs reporting.

The ILO Office thanked the facilitators and participants for their active participation and affirmed the continued support towards advancing the next steps.