Direct action and capacity building
Experience indicates that while it may be relatively easy to achieve the initial task of formulating a national policy and programme of action, the next step of ensuring that intentions are translated into practice is more difficult. Projects working directly with children, families, employers and communities, or those that aim at strengthening the capacity of organizations to improve their service delivery to children and families, can provide that link. Action against child labour is relatively recent, and experimental smaller-scale projects are needed to demonstrate in practice that the situation of children can be improved and that they can be removed from hazardous work. Thus, projects provide a basis for wider application and adjustments in programmes and policies dealing with the problem. This type of intervention - whether it is called pilot projects, action programmes, or sub-projects - should, however, never be carried out in isolation. It should always be part of a broader programme to which it makes a contribution. Since projects have an important demonstration and learning function, their design, relevance and feasibility are extremely important. Pointers on project formulation and design are given in Appendix 1.4.
Organizing action against child labour and coordinating measures between the various bodies require the development of expertise and the establishment of institutional mechanisms with the necessary powers to promote and increase public initiatives, both at the national and local levels. Creating institutional capacity to cope with child labour problems is a long-term task.
IPEC experience in this regard is worth noting. It has encouraged the setting up of National Steering Committees on child labour to identify appropriate measures and the organizations responsible for implementing them. These Committees, usually chaired by the minister responsible for labour affairs, include representatives from other concerned ministries, national employers' and workers' organizations and NGOs with expertise in advocacy on children's rights. They are often the stepping-stones towards an institutional mechanism allowing high-level authorities from various backgrounds to collectively examine the issue of child labour. These committees have done much to promote the exchange of experience, eliminate bottlenecks, share successes and forge bonds among the members. Another strategy by key partner organizations is setting up focal points or coordinating units to ensure the smooth implementation of work.
Another positive development has been the increased involvement at provincial and community level of provincial authorities, local community leaders, parents, teachers, and also the working children themselves. In some cases this has brought about the organization of local mechanisms that can undertake action and provide resources and services in the fight against child labour. These councils or committees perform community-watch functions. They also provide vital information on working children, for example the incidence of trafficking and active recruitment of working children.
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