The U.S. Department of Labor today announced nearly $20 million in grants awarded to combat exploitive child labor in Bolivia, Egypt and Jordan.
The grants will fund projects that provide children with education and training opportunities, and help improve the livelihoods of families so they no longer need to rely on children’s labor. These projects will work with countries that have shown strong political will to address abusive child labor and tackle its root causes. They will collaborate with national partners to scale up and sustain these efforts, and will conduct rigorous evaluations of the impact of project interventions.
“Eradicating child labor is a necessary task that binds us all together and has global benefits for everyone,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Our experience shows it is important to forge partnerships with countries to ensure that children are educated and not exploited.”
In Bolivia, the department awarded a $6 million grant to Desarrollo y Autogestion for a project that will work closely with indigenous leaders, urban and rural communities, and the government of Bolivia. The project will raise awareness of health and occupational hazards inflicted by the worst forms of child labor. The grant also will combat forced labor, and support Bolivia’s new education law by helping to provide children with basic and accelerated education. In addition, it will develop technical secondary school programs, offering economic empowerment to communities and support to small enterprises that raise household incomes.
The department awarded $9.5 million to the World Food Program to address child labor in Egypt’s agriculture sector. It will encourage school attendance by offering school meal programs for children and food rations for their families. It will also provide entrepreneurial skills training to improve household livelihoods and access to microfinance opportunities such as village savings and loan programs, with a special focus on women.
Save the Children Federation was awarded $4 million under the department’s grant to Jordan. The project will address child labor within identified pockets of poverty. It will reintegrate children into formal or nonformal education systems, and transition older children of legal working age to vocational training programs or ensure their employment under safe and legal working conditions. The project will also provide vulnerable households with linkages to livelihood opportunities, improve vocational training centers, establish community protection committees and work with community leaders to raise awareness of exploitive child labor.
Since 1995, Congress has appropriated approximately $780 million to the Labor Department to support global efforts to combat exploitive child labor. As a result, the department has rescued approximately 1.4 million children from exploitive child labor.