What does DCI do ?
Why focus on Child Labour?
The issue of child labour has received much attention in the international agenda. It is a pressing global matter, with approximately 218 million children between 5 and 17 engaged in child labour, of which 166 million are under 15. An estimated 127 million children aged 5 to 17 are working in dangerous environments, exposed to hazardous conditions, machinery or substances (ILO, 2006). Many children are thus engaged in the worst forms of child labour, as defined by International Labour Organisation Convention No. 182, 1999.

In January 2001, DCI�s International Secretariat created the Child Labour Desk, with the aim to reinforce DCI's action on the prevention and elimination of child labour, especially in its most hazardous forms, and to strengthen DCI�s efforts to protect all working children. Since then, DCI's ideological contributions to international and national discussions on child labour have been numerous. In particular, DCI has proposed a strong children's rights perspective on the understanding of child labour, taking the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a reference point. For DCI, child labour is of great concern because it inherently implies a violation of various children�s and adolescents� human rights.
The work of the Child Labour Desk is inspired by this commitment to children's rights, and tries to unify diverse views within DCI under the principles declared in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Child labour is a complex issue. It is a multi�dimensional phenomenon, with many different factors to be taken into account. The two factors most closely related with child labour are inclusive educational systems and poverty.

From the fieldwork carried out by DCI�s various national sections around the world, we have observed that access to education and overall school attendance are hindered when children and adolescents are forced to work. It is also evident that joining the labour force at an early age greatly limits the possibilities for future job options, and hampers the prospects for earning decent wages, thus perpetuating the inter-generational poverty cycle. According to UNESCO, around 100 million children are still deprived of formal education worldwide, of which 60 million are girls and 40 million boys. This is why one of the focal points of DCI�s Child Labour Desk is the promotion of education for working children, working directly with the educational system and on the other hand contributing towards generating economical alternatives for the families of working children.

DCI is currently implementing a 3-year international project on child labour and inclusive education, with financial assistance from the Dutch Government.

Click on the links below for more information:

DCI�s strategies

There are three strategies that can be implemented with children in order to protect them from economic exploitation: 1) education strategies 2) support service provision 3) income generating opportunities.

Education strategies

The promotion of education systems, which take children�s needs into consideration, may prevent a child from joining the workforce. At the same time, if this type of education system is available, it has the potential to keep children from dropping out of school. In order to achieve this goal and make education a strong weapon against child labour, it is important to involve children in the development of education systems. Child participation is the only method to ensure child-friendly education. However, this is rarely done in the formal education systems that exist today.

Several forms of education for working children exist such as:

- Basic education
This provides the individual with �tools� for life, such as literacy and numeracy, as well as �content,� such as knowledge and values. Basic education can be provided in a non-formal setting as explained below.

- Non-formal education
Non-formal education allows working children to attend and participate in school, without being extracted from their work environment and then reinserted into the formal education system.

- Vocational training
Courses offered within this type of education scheme should be appropriately researched so that the training offered corresponds to the needs of the local job market.

Working children have varying degrees of education. It is important that education strategies appropriately address the age and situation of the working child being targeted. The first step is to define the situation of the working child, the second is to ascertain his/her needs, and lastly, provide an education which is best-suited to their particular situation.

Support service provision

Social service programmes are often a standard resource for working children. The programmes aim to improve the living standards of children, enhance local capacity, and reduce child labour in the long-term.

Shelters and drop-in centres are alternative environments for working children who have basic needs. These centres may be open during the day for children to bathe, rest and have a hot meal. Some centres are open 24 hours, and provide a place for children to sleep for a few nights.

The centres normally include a range of support interventions, e.g.:

- Advocacy and psychosocial counselling for children and their families;
- Legal assistance: many working children are victims of exploitation and abuse, and some of them are in conflict with the law.
- Psychological counselling for child victims of abuse and exploitation who need psychological support
- Education
- Recreation
- Health services
- Food and Nutritional support.

Careful consideration must be administered when establishing shelters and drop-in centres within a community or near the children�s workplace. The centres themselves should be built in accordance with the community, and large, over-equipped establishments should be avoided. Children should be involved in the decoration and design of the centre so that they feel comfortable and safe.

Alternatively, a rehabilitation scheme may be undertaken with the intention of withdrawing children from work. A rehabilitation centre will need to have access to services such as health care, training, counselling, as well as a safe environment and even legal aid.

Income-generating opportunities

Many children have to work in order to supplement the family income. Child workers will continue to be sent to work as long as their families depend on their income in order to survive. Therefore, in many instances, providing alternative income-earning opportunities for working children and their families can improve their quality of life, and it can help reduce the economic exploitation of children. Developing micro-credit schemes for working children and their families is one of many potential solutions.

DCI�s International Child Labour Programme

DCI�s International Child Labour Programme has the following objectives:
� Through the promotion of education, reduce the numbers of children involved in the worst forms of child labour, and those who are working below the minimum age of employment.
� Mainstream child labour and child rights standards into all national and international policies, and influence the formulation and implementation of policies concerning children and their families.
� To promote the participation of children in awareness-raising on issues concerning children�s rights and child labour.

The programme works directly with the national sections of DCI, taking action at three levels: national, regional and international. This year, the International Child Labour Programme supported a project linking child labour with inclusive education for the following DCI National Sections: DCI Cameroon, DCI Ecuador, DCI Paraguay and DCI Togo.

The strengthening of DCI�s capacity to advocate, influence and monitor policies at the national, regional and international level is one of the objectives of the programme. The programme also interacts with all sections and associated members of DCI on a regular basis through international events, policies, research and debates. The programme will continue to build and reinforce the capacity of the relevant parties by providing technical advice, and by producing publications and training tools.

For more information: http://www.dnicostarica.org

Child Labour Liaison Desk, DCI- IS, Geneva

The Child Labour Liaison Desk has four main objectives:
- To act as a facilitator in the field of child labour between DCI and national, regional and international actors, including donors, in the prevention, intervention and elimination of the worst forms of child labour and in the protection of child workers.
- To promote and articulate a common position on child labour within DCI as a Movement.
- To reinforce and promote initiatives of DCI Sections, and to aid in the development of programmes on child and adolescent labour within DCI as a Movement
- To promote the participation of child workers in all DCI actions

The activities implemented towards the achievement of the above objectives may be grouped as follows:

1. Networking and sharing information

The Child Labour Desk places great emphasis on collecting material and resources on child labour, and maintaining the dissemination of information with DCI Sections and other bodies dealing with child labour.

� Up-to-date information: The Child Labour Desk introduced initiatives for the regular provision of up-to-date news on child labour. The information is exchanged between DCI Sections and the Child Labour Desk, and concerns developments in policies, legislation and practice in the field of child labour. Details concerning the Sections' activities in the field of child labour are also regularly collected.

� Electronic Newsletter: The Child Labour Desk published its first newsletter in December, 2001. It was created in order to exchange and provide information for DCI Sections, other NGOs and individuals active in the field of child labour. The newsletter contains updates in policies, legislation, practice and lobbying in the field of child labour, as well as thematic articles, conferences, events, publications and resources.
If you want to subscribe to our electronic newsletter, please e-mail us: [email protected]

� Technical advice and support to sections: DCI National Sections frequently approach the Child Labour Desk for support in drafting projects on child labour. Technical advice is given throughout the whole process.

� Consultations within DCI: In order to maintain communication and effective performance at DCI, regional and international consultations take place in various capacities. For one, the DCI Movement meets every three years during its International General Assembly. Participants from each DCI national section discuss the national and international strategies, concepts developed, methodologies applied, and relationships with donors. DCI also periodically organises regional consultations for groups of DCI National Sections, in order to improve their global position on child labour. Regional consultations focus on regional strategies in specific fields relating to child labour. They also provide an opportunity to exchange methods of good practice, and improve on areas of weakness as well as highlighting the strengths of each section.

� Co-operation with other actors: One of the main tasks of the Child Labour Desk is to act as a facilitator between the DCI Sections and other actors at different levels.

Collaboration with ILO/IPEC continues for the elaboration of specific initiatives which aim to reinforce the presence of child labour issues on the international agenda. The Desk actively collaborates with NGOs operating in the field of children's rights, in particular those that are members of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Several initiatives within the thematic Subgroup have been developed.

3. Monitoring, lobbying and advocacy

The Child Labour Desk monitors conditions of working children worldwide, and advocates for the implementation of international standards on child labour, to ensure the protection and removal of children engaged in the worst forms of labour. This is done through:

- The NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its thematic Subgroups
- Participation in the sessions of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
- Participation in the UN Human Rights Council
- Participation in the ILO Conferences
- Participation in other international events

4. Research and documentation of Children�s Rights

The Child Labour Desk is dedicated to undertaking research and developing manuals/brochures on child labour. So far we have published the following resources:

- Training Manual on Child Labour for NGOs, DCI-IS, Geneva, 2004
- The World of Working Children, Second Edition, DCI-IS, Geneva, 2003


 Child Labour
  What is Child Labour ?
  What is the global situation ?
  DCI's Position on Child Labour
  What does DCI do ?
  International Instruments
  International Campaign for Inclusive Education
  Contacts / Newsletter