The role and participation of NGOs in action against child labour in different countries varies depending on political culture and tradition. The quality of NGO involvement also depends on their experience and maturity. In some countries, NGOs have been criticized for inadequate administrative and management capability, leading to non-sustainability of operations. Their insufficient resource base means that they can only continue their programmes as long as there is internal or external support. However, mature and well-established NGOs survive changes in political systems, continue to receive public support and have effectively worked towards the elimination of child labour. Some of the lessons learned from NGO action against child labour are:
• NGOs, particularly those implementing their activities at community level, are able to mobilize community awareness and action against child labour. Strong community participation can lead to prevention of the problem and long-term sustainability of action.
• Many NGOs have practical experience in creating alternatives for families at risk and disadvantaged groups in society, such as income-generating activities, setting up of cooperatives and community-based savings groups, literacy programmes for adults and children, provision of legal aid, family counselling, and so on. This experience is relevant and can be applied in direct action against child labour. Indeed, NGOs in many countries are doing so.
• Awareness-raising and advocacy are important strategies and NGOs often have experience and skills in conducting awareness-raising campaigns.
• Capacity building through, for instance, training programmes on various aspects of development and implementation of action against child labour, is required to assist the effective operation of NGOs.
• For greater effect, NGOs also coordinate and network their activities with others, including government bodies, workers' and employers' organizations, media, universities, the judiciary system, parliamentarians, and so on.