World Education Receives USDOL Award to Respond to Child and Forced Labor in the Context of Climate Change in Nepal

February 2nd, 2024 | News


World Education, a division of JSI, is excited to announce a new award from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) to address child and forced labor in the context of climate change in Nepal.

Nepal ranks 10th in the world among countries most vulnerable to climate change, and 80 percent of the population faces risks due to climate change. With elevations ranging from a few meters above sea level to the top of the highest mountains in the world, Nepal is susceptible to many climate change threats.

Nepal also has high rates of child and forced labor. Children work in hazardous conditions like brick kilns, and marginalized groups are trapped in forced labor through debt bondage and hereditary bonded labor traditions. Both labor exploitation and climate change disproportionately affect socially excluded, culturally stigmatized groups and people experiencing poverty. Families relying on subsistence agriculture may be pushed into exploitation by climate shocks like flood, drought, and crop-destroying pests.

World Education’s new project, Tatpartaa: Increasing Responsiveness to Child Labor & Forced Labor in the Context of Climate Change, will focus on 22 municipalities in Nepal’s central and southern provinces. They cluster around four distinct river basin ecosystems spanning inhabited regions from the Himalayas to the low-lying Terai plains.

World Education will partner with community and civil society organizations and municipal governments to:

  1. Conduct participatory research activities to document and publicize the relationship between climate change and vulnerability to labor exploitation.
  2. Implement child-centered, gender-sensitive, and socially-inclusive climate adaptation initiatives.

This work builds on our past efforts to remove Nepali children from exploitative labor and connect them to education and social services and strengthen Nepali civil society capacity to end child labor. It also expands JSI’s portfolio of programming to respond to climate change both in the United States and around the world.

USDOL Deputy Undersecretary Thea Lee announced the award at COP 28, the UN climate change conference, during the Climate Change and Child Labor event.

It is my great pleasure to announce today that the Bureau of International Labor Affairs will be making a four-million dollar award to JSI and World Education for a brand new project in Nepal. The project, named Tatpartaa after the Nepali word for commitment and ability to respond, will help local communities address child labor and forced labor with a specific focus on confronting new challenges resulting from the impact of climate change,” said Lee.

Capacity and commitment—or tatpartaa—is precisely what is needed to unravel the tangled consequences of climate change and child and forced labor.

We are thrilled to partner with USDOL again in Nepal, where the effects of climate change threaten to reverse the significant progress we’ve made over the past 20 years to eliminate child and forced labor,” said Antonia Powell, World Education’s executive director. “This opportunity shows USDOL’s visionary commitment to mitigating climate change and labor exploitation through integrated programming and evidence building. Climate change affects every sector from health to education to labor rights, and this kind of holistic approach is much needed.”

Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL000010. 100 percent of the total costs of the project is financed with USG federal funds, for a total of $4 million.

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