Why Grameen Foundation is joining the ILO’s Alliance 8.7 to End Child Labor.

Posted on 05/28/2021

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We at Grameen Foundation are dedicated to empowering the poor to build a world without extreme poverty. Our mission focuses especially on women, and connecting them to the technology and resources they need to grow farms, businesses, and overall wealth.

So why have we committed to an action pledge for Alliance 8.7, the International Labor Organization’s vehicle for ending child labor?

Our work in women’s economic empowerment takes a “do no harm” approach: Not only are we focused on improving women’s access to loans and savings accounts, we’re also dedicated to reducing unintended consequences—and as it turns out, child labor is a common one.

When women entrepreneurs are responsible for running businesses and managing their households, they often turn to their children for help. While in some cases this can be positive—many children learn how to run a business and conduct household tasks—entrepreneurs can cross the line into riskier situations for children. Relying on child labor can also result in exposure to workplace hazards, such as chemical exposure, burns, cuts, and harassment, and put their education at risk.

Our Reducing Incidence of Child Labor and Harmful Conditions of Work in Economic Strengthening Initiatives (RICHES) project, launched in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor and supported by ABA-ROLI, explores the cross-section between economic empowerment and child labor. RICHES raises awareness of the risks of child labor and poor working conditions among both WEE actors and their clients, with pilot programs in El Salvador, the Philippines and globally in a handful of other countries.

Our Action Pledge

As part of the ILO’s Alliance 8.7, in the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor, we pledge to develop and promote what we’ve learned to local organizations and the communities they serve.

When women entrepreneurs and their families are aware of the unintended consequences of child labor, they can grow their businesses sustainably and ethically.

To that end, Grameen Foundation has developed a toolkit to support women’s economic empowerment actors in their efforts to reduce child labor and unacceptable working conditions. It’s the result of years of research, development, and pilot programs, and we’re excited to share it with a wider audience.

Grameen Foundation is proud to join the ILO’s Alliance 8.7 in 2021 and bring these practical, easy-to-implement tools to financial services providers, NGOs, and civil society organizations. Our hope is that the toolkit will bring awareness to groups that might not be as aware of how their current practices could result in child labor and acceptable working conditions, and help them overcome these challenges.

Funding for the RICHES project 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.

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