Helping children and their families access suitable alternatives to the worst forms of child labour

PACE works with families and their communities, local authorities and employers to identify suitable alternatives to the worst forms of child labour – helping children and families into decent employment, vocational training or education, and reducing the reliance on harmful child labour practices for survival.

Why the focus on alternatives?

Poverty is one of the biggest drivers of child labour: the need to survive and provide for their families forces many children into work. This work often falls into the category of the worst forms of child labour.

Children’s vulnerability to child labour increases in the world’s poorest places, and is drastically increased in situations of conflict and crisis. This is heavily influenced by the loss of family income, reduced access to education, and the upheaval caused by displacement due to conflict or natural disaster.

Improving access to sustainable sources of income, both through secure employment and alternative livelihood strategies, is a necessary step to reducing a family’s reliance on child labour. At the same time, helping children into education, or providing vocational training opportunities for young people, can ensure sustainable income for vulnerable families for years to come.

How are we helping?

PACE will conduct ‘labour market assessments’ in all three countries – mapping available safe employment and training opportunities in the target locations. The outcomes of these assessments will determine the options promoted to children and their families later in the project.

Vulnerable children will be supported to start orreturn to school. World Vision and War Child will work with targeted schools to help them take in more vulnerable children, with support such as small grants to improve school facilities, or school gardens to provide food for pupils at lunch time. In Ethiopia, tutoring programmes will be set up to support children who have been out of school to catch up, and to encourage others at risk of dropping out to stay in school.

Other activities will be targeted at young people who, for various reasons, may not be able to return to school. For example, the provision of vocational training will help teenagers and young adults access safer forms of employment, or increase their earning potential so that informal employment or signing up to armed groups aren’t seen as viable options. The project will establish ‘employment hubs’ for children aged 15 years and over, offering a range of services and opportunities.

Similar opportunities will be extended to the parents and caregivers of working children, enabling them to earn better incomes so that they no longer depend on their children’s wages. Local savings and loans schemes will also be established to improve family access to financial support.

The project will work directly with local employers and business owners to provide these opportunities, while also supporting improvements to workplace conditions and occupational safety.

What we hope to achieve

Taken together, these interventions are designed to reduce families’ and communities’ reliance on the worst forms of child labour in our target locations. We aim to increase the number of children returning to and staying in school and provide greater access to vocational opportunities and safe employment, as well as financial support. The focus on education and livelihood alternatives is designed as a sustainable contribution to poverty reduction and should reduce the number of children engaging in the worst forms of child labour.