Where we are working

PACE works in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia, supporting children who have been recruited into armed groups, child sexual exploitation, forced labour or hazardous work.

At a Glance

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Why the Central African Republic?

The Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the most challenging places in the world for children. The country ranks 188th out of 189 countries in the UN’s 2019 Human Development Report, with an estimated 70% of its 4.7 million people living below the international poverty line.

CAR has also been ravaged by internal conflict, with a seven-year civil war leaving more than 25% of the population displaced. The conflict has disrupted health and education services, and many of the country’s schools and hospitals have been destroyed. Today, many thousands of displaced families depend on humanitarian aid for food and basic services. The government has little influence or control over the territory outside the capital city, Bangui.

As a result, reliable data on child labour in CAR is scarce. An estimated 30% of children aged 5–14 are engaged in child labour, and only 42% of children complete primary school. The government’s limited influence across much of the country hinders its ability to address these issues.

Despite a lack of data, the proliferation of some of the worst forms of child labour is widely documented. Children in CAR are especially vulnerable to trafficking and modern-day slavery. Boys and girls are recruited to serve in armed groups, exploited in mines, trafficked into commercial sex work, and driven to other desperate coping strategies resulting from extreme poverty and an absence of opportunities.

The locations we are operating in

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In CAR, World Vision operations will be delivered in Bocaranga, a sub prefecture in the prefecture of Ouham Pende in the west of the country. The area is known for mining activity, including diamonds and gold. Both World Vision and War Child are also operating in the Ouham prefecture, with World Vision focusing operations around Batangafo, and War Child in Bossangoa. Operations in these areas will focus on children affected by armed conflict, including those recruited into armed groups or at risk of being recruited.

How are we helping?

Children who are currently exploited in the worst forms of child labour will be supported to return to school, while older children will be offered vocational training opportunities. Economic support will also be provided to some of the most vulnerable families – including job opportunities with private sector organisations, skills training and access to local savings and loans schemes.

In CAR specific attention will be paid to the demobilisation and rehabilitation of children associated with armed groups. Taken together, these interventions will make it easier for families to reject child labour as a viable coping strategy.

Our in-county partners, War Child and World Vision, are well established in CAR and will work with the government and relevant bodies, the private sector, armed groups and local community actors to raise awareness of existing child labour law and the services available to children. The supply of gold to international markets through CAR will also be mapped to identify where child labour takes place, and how additional measures could help combat it.

At a Glance

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Why the DRC?

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the largest francophone country in Africa, with an estimated 84 million inhabitants and vast natural resources. It is also one of the world’s most under-developed and dangerous places to live. Ranked 179th in the UN’s Human Development Index, an estimated 74% of the DRC’s population lives in poverty. This is compounded by internal conflicts spanning many decades: more than 6 million people have been killed, and a further 4.5 million displaced, by violence stemming from the presence of more than 120 armed groups as well as inter-community tensions.

Ongoing conflict has deepened the vulnerability of the Congolese people. In 2018, nearly 14% of the population required humanitarian assistance, with the situation made worse by a series of acute health crises. In 2019 alone, the country’s eastern regions were plagued by outbreaks of Ebola, measles and cholera.

The conflict has had dire consequences for children in the DRC. In 2000, the UN stated that more than a third of the world’s 300,000 child soldiers were active in the DRC – more than 100,000 children (ILO, 2003, quoted in ‘Tug of War’, War Child 2018).

Extreme poverty and limited access to education also forces many children into hazardous forms of work just to survive. The use of underage labour in mining sites is well publicised, with children used for artisanal mining of gold, tungsten, tin and tantalum. As these raw materials are widely used in components found in mobile phones, and increasingly in renewable energy technologies, they are highly likely to end up in international supply chains. Estimates suggest that around 40% of all children in the DRC are engaged in child labour.

The locations we are operating in

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Project activities in the DRC will be managed out of the War Child and World Vision offices in Goma and Bukavu – the provincial capitals of North and South Kivu, respectively.

Community-based interventions will be focused on the territories of Masisi in North Kivu (led by War Child), and Walungu in South Kivu (led by World Vision). Children in these areas are highly vulnerable to some of the worst forms of child labour, with an active mining sector, poor soil making it hard for families to grow crops, and the presence of armed groups resulting in high levels of insecurity

How are we helping?

Children who are currently exploited in the worst forms of child labour will be supported to return to school, while older children will be offered vocational training opportunities. Economic support will also be provided to some of the most vulnerable families – including job opportunities with private sector organisations, skills training and access to local savings and loans schemes.

In the DRC special attention will be paid to children working in mines, sexual exploitation, and children associated with armed forces and groups.

Our in-county partners, War Child and World Vision, are well established in the DRC, and will work with the DRC Government and regional line ministries, law enforcement, local media, the private sector, armed groups and local community actors to raise awareness of existing child labour law and the services available to children, while building local capacity among many of these stakeholders to combat the exploitation of children.

The supply of gold, tantalum, tungsten and tin to international markets will also be mapped to identify where child labour takes place, and how additional measures could help combat it.

At a Glance

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Why Ethiopia?

With a population of close to 110 million, Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country after Nigeria. It is also one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, and through its ‘Growth and Transformation Plans’ the current government aims to transform the country into an industrialised middle-income economy by 2025.

Despite this positive outlook, 23.5% of the Ethiopian population lives below the poverty line. This high incidence of poverty, especially in rural areas, is a major driver of child labour. The Ethiopian 2015 National Child Labour Survey estimated that 51% of children aged 5–17 were engaged in economic activities, of which 54% was considered ‘hazardous’ work.

Child labour predominantly occurs in Ethiopia’s agricultural sector, including in the harvesting of khat – a locally grown stimulant that is highly addictive. Children are also trafficked to urban centres such as the capital Addis Ababa, often ending up in the textile industry or domestic work.

On average only 3% of children are registered at birth in Ethiopia, making it harder to monitor child labour and enforce relevant national laws.

The locations we are operating in

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Project activities will be focused in three areas of the northern Amhara Region: Gondar Zuria, Libo Kemekem and Dera. The child labour rates in Amhara are among the highest in the country, and World Vision Ethiopia has existing programmes in the region that enable us to work with some of the area’s most vulnerable communities.

Activities with media and legal professionals will also be implemented in Addis Ababa. We will work with federal legislators and the police service to strengthen law enforcement capacity and will support national broadcasters to report on child labour issues.

How are we helping?

In Ethiopia children who are currently exploited in the worst forms of child labour will be supported to return to schooling, while older children will be offered vocational training opportunities. Economic support will also be provided to some of the most vulnerable families - including job opportunities with private sector organisations, skills training and access to local savings and loans schemes.

Project partners will also work with the Ethiopian Government and relevant bodies, the private sector, national and regional media, and local community actors to raise awareness of existing child labour law and the services available to children. The supply of sesame to international markets through Ethiopia will also be mapped to identify where child labour takes place, and how additional measures could help combat it.