Hivos International

About Stop Child Labour

‘Stop Child Labour – School is the best place to work’ (SCL) is a coalition coordinated by Hivos. The coalition consists of the Dutch General Union of Education (AOb), FNV Mondiaal, Hivos, the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), Kerk in Actie & ICCO Cooperation, Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland and local organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Stop Child Labour aims to eliminate all forms of child labour and to ensure quality fulltime education for all children until the age of 15.  Stop Child Labour promotes an area-based approach towards the creation of ‘Child Labour Free Zones’. The coalition collaborates with organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America who work on the principle that ‘no child should work; every child must be in school’ and calls on consumers, companies, governments and international organisations to take action for child labour free production chains.

Poverty is not the major reason why 168,000,000 children are working worldwide
After years of tackling child labour and education issues in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Hivos has come to the conclusion that poverty is not, as is often believed, the major cause of child labour, nor is it the main obstacle to making full-time formal education accessible for every child. Many studies show that children’s wages make but a meagre contribution to the family’s income. The cost of children missing out on education, however, is much greater both in terms of the individual development of the child as well and that of society as a whole.

As the experiences of our partners have shown, prevailing social norms, lack of workers’ and other human rights, harmful traditional practices, exclusion and discrimination of certain groups and poorly or ‘passively’ functioning educational systems are the most important reasons behind child labour. We therefore firmly believe that it is possible, even under quite adverse conditions, to get children out of work and into school.

Child Labour Free Zones
Through a serious planned intervention based on the commitment of communities and other stakeholders, we are working on the creation and strengthening of so-called Child Labour Free Zones. A Child Labour Free Zone is a place - a village, a farm or a plantation - where no child labour exists and all children go to school. But also a place where everyone involved is convinced that children belong in school and not in the workplace. So the programme must first get parents, children, employers, teachers, unions and governments to change their attitudes if the right of all children to education is to be ensured.

To this end, our partners in the Stop Child Labour coalition have been involved in developing  policy documents for the EU, the ILO and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, and compiling a list of risk products for businesses and consumers.  Stop Child Labour uses relevant policy forums to encourage the Netherlands and the European Union to support the concept of Child Labour Free Zones. Programmes like Stop Child labour are the reason ever more companies are endorsing and implementing the standard for Child Labour Free products and proving that no child labour is involved in their production chain, and why an increasing number of consumers are demanding that their favourite consumer goods be Child Labour Free.