Local Organizations Address Child Labor in Nepal

July 15th, 2022 | Stories

World Education has worked in Nepal to combat child labor for more than 20 years, initially working directly to rescue and remove children from exploitative labor and rehabilitate them. In recent years, however, our focus has shifted to strengthening the capacity of local institutions—both government and civil society—to combat child labor and other forms of labor exploitation.

Under the Sakriya project, funded by the US Department of Labor, World Education has partnered with 15 local civil society organizations and 45 municipalities to strengthen their ability to understand and address child labor.  All 15 NGOs achieved targeted improvements related to five key areas: organization management and strategy; understanding of child labor; identification and documentation of child labor; awareness raising; and implementation of case management to address child labor. The impacts of that strengthened capacity are diverse and many across the 15 partners and 45 municipalities as each NGO led initiatives responsive to local needs.

Here’s how one local activist explains his experience being part of the Sakriya project:

“My name is Sajan Rajthala. I am 35 years old, and I’ve been working in the social sector for 11 years. Since 2019, I have been a part of the Sakriya project working with the NGO Urban Environment Management Society (UEMS). 

“I am glad to be part of the Sakriya project. This project has provided me with opportunities to learn more and more from trainings and workshops provided by World Education and technical partners, Antenna Foundation Nepal, Swantantrata Abhiyan Nepal, and Terres des Hommes in the three areas of the project: identification of child labor, awareness campaigns, and case management.

“Our NGO had an opportunity to learn various methods and techniques for community research. For example, I learned data entry using mobile apps. I then taught these skills to members of local community-based organizations (CBOs). At first, it was a bit difficult to use these apps, but now they use them easily. [CBOs include permanent, volunteer community groups such as mothers’ groups, savings groups, parent-teacher associations, etc.]

“As I had already worked on child protection projects, case management wasn’t new for me. But, with Sakriya, I had an opportunity to refresh my knowledge and skills for case management and learn more, and I even participated in the Master Training of Trainers for case management. As a result, now I am capable enough to train others. We have now provided case management training to our organization’s board members, other UEMS staff, and the smaller community-based organizations (CBOs) in our area.

“So far, UEMS, along with the support of community members we’ve mobilized, have identified 1,166 children in the brick and carpet sectors, and we’ve used case management to support the 145 children most in need and at highest risk, each according to their needs—for example with provision of school supplies, food, or clothing. I can see how this support helps them. With the technical support from the project, we also conducted Social Behavior Change Communications (SBCC) campaigns, especially targeting brick factory owners and workers as well as parents and children. My colleagues and I will take what we have learned from this project and use SBCC in other projects too.

“We worked a lot with CBOs and trained them to research the issue, identify child labor, and develop prevention campaigns and case support activities. We also work in close coordination with the municipality government, frequently sharing updates with them and providing support as they develop policies and guidelines [since municipal governments were formed for the first time in 2017 and there are many such policies that need to be finalized]. 

Mobilizing the community makes our work faster and easier as well as more effective. It also fosters collaborative relationships and mutual respect with local government and community. I realize that mobilizing CBOs also helps to ensure the work will continue after the project phases out.”

Acknowledgement: Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-32527-18-75-K.  100 percent of the total costs of the project or program is financed with USG federal funds, for a total of 2.85 million dollars.

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