Introduction to RICHES

Empowering women entrepreneurs in developing economies can increase their income and household well-being, but may also have unintended consequences, including increased labor burdens, financial stress, and gender-based violence. The RICHES project focused on one additional, less well-known consequence: increased incidence of harmful child work (child labor). When women struggle to balance growing a business with unpaid household and caregiving tasks, they often turn to those closest for help – their children.

Responsible WEE (women’s economic empowerment) actors, such as financial service providers and women’s support organizations, follow “Do No Harm” practices to protect women and families from negative consequences. In order to expand these practices to include harmful child work, the RICHES project began by researching the connection between women’s entrepreneurship promotion and harmful child work.

Drawing from these lessons, RICHES developed, tested, and made available a step-by-step, online toolkit to raise awareness of the risks of harmful child work among WEE participants and to help them implement policies and strategies to guard against it within their organizations and among their clients.

These recommendations include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Building awareness of the risks to children and women’s health and safety when supporting women’s businesses or WEE activities.
  • Assessing the risks and identifying situations of harmful work for children (child labor) and adults (UACW) and how to remedy these issues;
  • Committing to Do No Harm principles when developing and/or implementing women’s economic initiatives; and
  • Knowing where to go for help and where to find resources.

Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-31469. 100% percentage of the total costs of the project or program is financed with federal funds, for a total of $1,872,000 dollars. This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government.

"As a child-focused organization, CEVI uses Child Well-Being Outcome (CWBO) indicators in our Operations. Using the RICHES tools complements what we currently know as well as educate our clients to check and prevent Child Labor in the communities where we operate."

Glenn Anciano, Community Economic Ventures, Inc.

“Although we see that our wives are the first to get up and the last ones who go to bed don't we had recognized the effort so great and the contribution to the home, although not go out to work like us.”

Daniel Ventura, participant