October 30, 2015
By: Vicki Walker
In 2002, global child labor statistics were at 218 million children. By 2012, child labor was reportedly down to 168 million, attributed to increasingly strong international laws and conventions, along with a civil society and donor community dedicated to eradicating child labor in the 21st century.
While stories of child labor are abundant in literature and photography – Dickens’ workhouses, Zola’s mines – we now value stories of children and families being lifted from poverty, exploitation, and hazardous labor. And we’re hearing many of these from NGOs, civil society, and children themselves.
Recently in Guatemala, children visited policy makers with a hypodermic needle to immunize policymakers against child labor; in Bangladesh employers groups came together to meet standards in occupational health and safety for legally working youth; in Rwanda, labor inspectors use mobile phones to report and refer vulnerable children to services and health care; and in multiple countries, companies have established policies for good practices in child labor monitoring through their agricultural labor practices.
Winrock International is a non-profit organization that works worldwide to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity, and sustain natural resources. Rising from the Rockefeller tradition of philanthropic development, Winrock has over 30 years of experience in programs that include agriculture, livelihoods development, and social protection.
Winrock is a recognized leader in child labor reduction with a focus on government capacity building, leadership development, and youth and gender inclusion. The Winrock approach is based on the international instruments that include the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Business Principles for Human Rights, ILO conventions, and the Sustainable Development Goals, and is focused on engaging local partners and working through existing government and community structures.
Since 2002, Winrock has implemented more than 12 child labor projects in over 30 countries. Our projects have reached over 130,000 households, and have removed or prevented over 80,000 children under the age of 18 from exploitative and hazardous child labor. Winrock engages diverse funders and stakeholders through a mix of public private partnerships including governments, foundations, and private sector companies in key agricultural industries like tea, tobacco, rubber, and cocoa.
CLEAR II is the latest child labor project in Winrock’s portfolio, an exciting addition to the organization’s history in child protection. Winrock is proud to be part of a global community fighting for fair labor rights, youth employment and education for all, with CLEAR II another opportunity to engage local stakeholders in partnership and progress.
Vicki Walker is the Lead Technical Advisor on Child Labor and Social Inclusion at Winrock International in Arlington, Virginia. Vicki is an expert in child protection, having over 20 years of experience with education, child labor and child trafficking projects.