Policies, programmes and projects
There is often a tendency to mix the concepts of "policies", "programmes" and "projects". In practice the linkages between these three are not always so logical or clearly spelled out. They are, and should be, of course, closely linked. Policies, programmes and projects can be defined as follows:
• A policy on child labour is a public commitment to work towards the elimination of child labour, setting out objectives and priorities and identifying implementing agencies, coupled with resource provisions. The very existence of a policy commitment indicates that political leaders and civil society as a whole are committed to tackling the child labour issue with determination.
• Policies have to be carried out through concrete programmes. A comprehensive and coherent set of interventions in the field of child labour could involve programmes in areas such as:
• collection of information for developing priorities and monitoring progress;
• legislation and enforcement;
• education and training;
• health, welfare and social protection;
• advocacy, public-awareness raising and social mobilization; and
• poverty alleviation, income generation and social protection.
Box 1.1. A national policy on child labour
This contains as a minimum the following elements:
• A definition of national objectives regarding child labour ^ A description of the nature and context of the problem
• The identification and description of the priority target groups
• A description of the main programme areas and type of interventions to be used
• The designation of the institutional actors to be involved
• Projects are the building-blocks of programmes. A project is a planned undertaking of related and coordinated activities designed to achieve certain specific objectives within a given budget and period of time. A project may often work with one target group, in a particular sector, using one or a limited range of interventions, over a short period of time. In principle, projects should never be carried out in isolation if long-lasting results are to be obtained. They should always be part of a broader programme and policy to which they make a contribution.
In some countries action against child labour starts with the development of a policy which is carried out through programmes and projects. However, small-scale projects can also be a starting point. Often, a few committed individuals start activities on child labour out of indignation over extreme cases of exploitation - sometimes as a reaction to the lack of action by the concerned authorities. In such cases, projects occur long before policies and programmes on child labour are in place.
National polices and programmes are usually subject to political change, and external interventions and changes in government infrastructure may lead to a wavering of the national commitment to eliminating child labour. Individual and sometimes isolated initiatives therefore remain important. Thus, the strategic process of eliminating child labour is not straightforward. Positive trends need to be constantly reinforced and individual interventions restarted or repeated.