The ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour has brought tangible benefits to children and their families. IPEC projects have led to direct actions in prevention, protection, recovery and reintegration of millions of children. IPEC has estimated that in the 2008-2009 period more than 52 million children received a direct or indirect benefit through some degree of exposure to or participation in activities as a result of the implementation of projects, institutional capacity building or policy advice from the ILO in the area of child labour. Children benefit from services such as formal and non-formal education and training, support for income generation opportunities for families and their communities, community watch groups who identify at-risk children, legal reforms, policy development and awareness raising and social mobilization campaigns that help create a protective environment for all children.
The following story demonstrates how IPEC’s work directly impacts children and their families.
Youth in action in industrialized and developing countries
In countries ranging from Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom to Uganda, Paraguay and Indonesia, thousands of young people – from schools and universities as well as in non-formal education settings – are involved in SCREAM initiatives in many different social settings. SCREAM, which stands from Supporting Children’s Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media, is an ILO/IPEC programme which promotes child participation and youth empowerment through an education pack based on the use of the arts – visual, literary and performing – and on media and networking methods. As well as raising awareness among their peers, by going through the SCREAM learning process, young people gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to address their message to the older generation in their societies – their parents, teachers, community leaders and authorities. Through SCREAM, children and youth are expressing their creativity in music and theatre performances, visual arts, photo exhibits, seminars, debates, interviews and academic projects that deepen their awareness on child labour. This platform provides an important vehicle for children’s voices and is an innovative way of engaging education systems in the campaign against child labour. Ministers of education have launched SCREAM national projects to enable educators to reinforce the global effort against child labour by empowering children and youth to become active agents for change. IPEC’s SCREAM education pack has been used in over 65 countries and is currently available in 20 languages.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Monique’s story
Monique was forcibly recruited by the Mai Mai rebels when she was 14 years old. For three years she was used as a cook, a spy and sometimes as a fighter. At the age of 17 Monique was released, with her baby fathered by a Mai Mai combatant. Upon her return to her community, she went through a difficult period – two extra mouths to feed were a heavy burden on her already very poor family.
After a few months, Monique was lucky to obtain skills training in agricultural techniques. Through ILO partners, she was provided with entrepreneurship training. Monique was soon able to design a plan for her petty-trade business selling agricultural products. Through the ILO’s Start your own business programme, she also gained access to and qualified for micro-credit and health insurance. Monique got married and had a second baby. She is now able to support her two children as well as her parents and siblings.5
Many successful initiatives have been carried out to build the capacities of different stakeholders, namely governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, to take action to end child labour. For more information regarding success stories in this area, refer to the recent ILO Global Report on Child Labour and well as the ILO/IPEC Implementation Report 2008-2009. The box below was adapted from the Global Report and is just one example of progress made in the critical area of raising awareness on the causes and consequences of child labour.