Informing all our activities
Our 10 guiding principles
These principles have informed and led the work of the ECLT Foundation since 2002.
1. Building multi-stakeholder partnerships
Mirroring its partnership approach, the ECLT Foundation is convinced that the best approach for addressing child labour is through building innovative partnerships, coordinating efforts, and sharing experiences with all relevant stakeholders. Bringing together representatives of governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations, multinational companies, international NGOs, and civil society facilitates the formulation of projects and their subsequent implementation. This process relies particularly on the local NGOs and community-based organisations (CBOs) and their direct experience working with vulnerable groups. These multi-stakeholder partnerships build national and local project ownership and thus enhance the sustainability of the action.
A standard feature in all projects is the need to develop campaigns at local levels employing traditional forms of culture and languages to convey to the communities the importance of education and the health hazards related to child labour. Awareness-raising and advocacy help change social norms and cultural justifications of child labour: from denial to action. These mobilisation campaigns (printed media, drama, songs and videos) are very effective in capturing the interest of the local communities and help them distinguish between chores considered as part of a natural socialisation process on one hand and exploitative child labour on the other hand. Parents need to be convinced that education for their children is an investment with higher long-term benefits than employment. Awareness-raising creates the conductive atmosphere which develops a sound basis for initiating support from the communities for the projects’ other activities.
3. Improving access to education
The education of children is a vital component in the fight against child labour. Extending and improving schooling for the poor – especially girls – is the most effective way to reduce the number of child labourers. It is therefore necessary to reach and educate rural communities about the alternatives to child labour, in particular the importance of education for all children. When talking to working children, invariably the dominant wish they have is to go to school. Where necessary and when possible, the ECLT Foundation builds or renovates school buildings and provides material support to improve conditions under which children are educated.
4. Fostering dialogue between social partners
Child labour contributes to the unemployment of adults. Therefore employers’ and workers’ organisations have a specific role to play by improving collective agreements, promoting the ILO’s decent work agenda, publicising and monitoring the relevant national legislation on child labour.
5. Integrating projects within the national framework of action against child labour
It is important that all ECLT Foundation projects maintain strong links with the policies developed by governments and the ILO in the fight against child labour. This is particularly true regarding the effective elimination of the worst forms of child labour in commercial agriculture. The ECLT Foundation and its field partners benefit from lessons learnt through interventions in other agricultural sectors and in turn share their own best practice with all relevant organisations.
6. Building local capacity to ensure ownership and long-term sustainability
By creating local partnerships and engaging the communities in the project planning and implementation, the ECLT Foundation and its partners ensure a participatory process, which facilitates the building of local capacity. This is essential for the long-term sustainability of the action.
The objective of this mobilisation is for communities to perceive the project as their own. Community-based monitoring is also an effective way of combating and preventing child labour.
Poverty is undoubtedly a dominant factor in the use of child labour: families on or below the poverty line have no other options than to force their children into work to supplement their household’s meager income.
The ECLT Foundation does not address child labour in isolation but as part of a comprehensive approach aimed at improving labour standards and fighting rural poverty. It builds on efforts to provide accessible education and develop poverty alleviation projects (through income-generating projects, micro-credits, etc). The objective is to act concretely in the areas of food security, health, sanitation, crop diversification and yield in order to impact positively on the livelihoods of families. Improved living conditions, coupled with an intensive awareness-raising campaign on child labour, create the right environment to induce parents to send their children to school.
8. Ensuring project accountability through monitoring, impact assessment and evaluation mechanisms
Monitoring and independent external evaluation are important and integral parts of each project supported by the ECLT Foundation. In order to assess objectively the impact of the activities, measurement indicators are established for each project and are followed-up throughout its life cycle, until completion. Whereas quantitative indicators are easy to measure (e.g., percentage of children attending school, drop-out rates), qualitative ones are more difficult to set up (e.g., change of perception of parents on child labour) but are essential to ensure long-term sustainability of the action.
Each project needs to be documented properly with adequate financial and narrative periodic reporting. Mid-term evaluations are usually carried out to ensure that the projects’ initial objectives are being met. The ECLT Foundation and its partners have a responsibility to follow-up on projects, beyond their completion.
9. Cooperating closely with local authorities
The support and active participation of the local authorities are essential to the projects’ success. Local representatives from the Ministries of Education, Agriculture, Labour, Social Affairs, and other relevant district officials need to be associated closely to the project goals and subsequent implementation. This governmental participation ensures sustainability to the project once the ECLT Foundation and its partner have completed it. This is particularly true regarding the handing-over of schools that have been built or renovated within the project framework.
10. Setting up vocational training for older children
The integration of former child labourers into the education system proves particularly challenging for older children (12 to 15 years old), many of whom have dropped out of school at a young age. They show limited interest for formal education and often refuse to share classrooms with younger pupils. It is therefore necessary to provide them with alternatives such as training programmes that focus on practical and marketable skills and offer immediate economic alternatives and incentives to make them attractive.
Learn more about us.