This case study is part of a compilation by Save the Children UK of lessons learnt in contributing to a national child rights-based framework for children. Similar reports for Bulgaria and Egypt will be made available on the CRIN website in the coming months.Save the Children UK’s programme in Central American and the Caribbean, created in 1974, has contributed to a national child rights framework, leading to dramatic changes for children and young people. The programme closed in March 2007, and its legacy continues through Save the Children’s partners through out the region.
This is a record of lessons learnt, challenges identified and recommendations made from Save the Children’s experiences over the last five years for all those involved in child rights and development work.
Child labour and poverty reduction in Honduras and Guatemala
This programme consisted of a set of social and political interventions aimed at improving the lives of children who work in domestic service, agriculture, and the production of fireworks. In addition to providing needed services and social reinsertion to working children, the programme conducted advocacy campaigns to promote public safeguards to protect children from exploitation. It encouraged sustainable advances both at the level of children’s individual lives and in the institutions of the countries concerned.
A policy on the eradication of the worst forms of child labour should condemn all forms of harmful work. An ambiguous stance will lead to incoherent policy and the perpetuation of the ignored forms of exploitation.
Ensure that when trying to improve the conditions of risk of working children, that this is not seen as acceptance or approval of child labour.
Child protection policies should be tailored to the age of the working children they aim to protect, e.g. younger children are more susceptible to suffering permanent physical damage; older children face greater risks of a social, sexual and moral nature as a result of peer pressure, family tensions, etc.
Work with local culture
The elimination of the worst forms of child labour cannot be readily imposed on a society. Honduran legislation has prescribed child labour since the mid-20th century with no real effect. Legislation does not in itself guarantee an end to these practices. Abolition requires a multifaceted approach and the participation of a wide range of actors
Strategies should try to provide alternative sources of income.
Direct action to meet the needs of working children should be balanced with efforts to educate the children’s parents about child rights.
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Save the Children is a leading humanitarian organization which aims to improve the lives of children through better education, health care, and economic opportunities, as well as providing emergency aid in natural disasters, war, and other conflicts. It is now a global movement made up of 29 national member organizations which work in 120 countries.