Key messages of a group of 9-year-old girls, Indonesia
The absence of working children and youth at the III Global Conference on Child Labour in Brazil in 2013 provoked a feeling of incompleteness among several child rights agencies namely Kindernothilfe, Save the Children and Terre des Hommes who had attended the forum. All three organisations agreed that the topic of child labour could be more adequately discussed and addressed by the global policy debates if working children themselves could integrate their voices and expertise.
Yet, it left them with the question on how meaningful participation of working children could be secured in such policy processes?
A multitude of exchanges and discussions about this question between the organisations, child rights experts and academics from different parts of the world shaped the idea to launch the global campaign and research project “It’s Time to Talk! – Children’s Views on Children’s Work”. The interest in the project idea after inviting local partner organisations, movements and working children to participate was overwhelming and thanks to the kind co-funding of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development the project activities finally took off in March 2016.
Not only financial assistance was necessary to make a project of this magnitude possible, ideally political and moral support would accompany the endeavor to provide a neutral platform to both organised and non-organised working children to make their views taken into account in local, national and global decision-making processes. Under the patronage of Germany’s Human Rights Commissioner Dr. Bärbel Kofler the project was further corroborated. Following regional workshops to train key partners in the Time to Talk methodology, consultations with working children were organised in more than 35 countries. With active support of local NGOs, the consultations were all aiming at the inclusive and non-judgmental collection of children’s views about their working lives: how a working child feels about his/her work; what work children think they can and cannot do, and who working children see responsible for the enhancement of their protection and well-being. Children’s advisory committees were also established in 13 countries enabling working children to actively inform the consultation methodology, analysis and advocacy work.
This research report is a vivid insight into working children’s lives. It discloses the complex and diverse views of working children, and their wish that their views and suggestions are seriously considered and taken into account in all relevant policy and practice developments affecting them on children’s work.
It cannot be said and repeated often enough, the Time to Talk organisers express their deepest thanks to all the children and young people involved in the consultations and to the children’s advisory committees. Thank you to every child involved for the crucial time and rich insights shared during “It’s Time to Talk”. We thank our member organisations Kindermissionswerk “Die Sternsinger”, Karl Kübel Stiftung für Kind und Familie and Kindernothilfe Austria for their enthusiasm towards the idea of child participation in the context of child labour; we thank our partner organisations for their incredible commitment to facilitate, collect and provide the necessary data to inform the analysis. We also thank members of the Adult Advisory Committee for rich discussions and debates that shaped and informed the methodology, analysis and reporting process. Without the diverse commitment of all involved, it would have been impossible to support over 1 800 children worldwide in their effort to be heard. Annex I of the report only roughly displays the long list of names of our Time to Talk supporters.
Read full report here.