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Winrock International

Getting ‘CLEAR’ About Child Labor

A new curriculum gives inspectors the tools they need — and will live on for years to come.

By Lisa Cox

For the past four years, the CLEAR II team, represented by Winrock and its partners Verité and Lawyers Without Borders, has been working steadily to fight child labor. CLEAR II, which stands for Country Level Engagement and Assistance to Reduce Child Labor, aims to increase the capacity of host governments to reduce child labor. As part of the team, my role as the labor specialist has been to provide technical support to the ministries of labor in Nepal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Belize and Panama on ways to improve the enforcement of child labor laws.

A CLEAR II training session in Nepal. Photo by Pramin Manandhar.

I visited each of these countries several times to meet with inspectors and other stakeholders in order to understand their challenges and assess how the project could best support them. Subsequently, I developed a curriculum designed to help overcome some of these challenges and strengthen efforts at identifying, eliminating and preventing child labor. The curriculum includes 25 lessons and 18 exercises covering topics such as definitions and legal frameworks; techniques for identification, rescue and rehabilitation; the importance of collaboration and coordination; addressing risks of child labor in supply chains; formalizing the informal sector; and outreach and awareness raising.

Inspectors at a CLEAR II training in Nepal. Photo by Pramin Manandhar

There are currently five editions of the curriculum, each customized to focus on the laws, policies and economic sectors relevant to each individual CLEAR II country. During the development of the curriculum, ministries of labor in each country reviewed the contents and provided input to ensure the accuracy and appropriateness of the materials. The goal is that once trained on how to use the curriculum, ministries will make it part of their regular training programs and use it to train not only inspectors but also other government enforcement personnel, trade unions, employers, and civil society organizations that are working to end child labor.

In Nepal, inspectors participated in a three-day Training of Trainers. Photo by Pramin Manandhar

Now that the curriculum is finalized and translated into Nepali, French and Spanish I have been hitting the road and rolling it out in various countries. The first stop was Nepal, where inspectors participated in a three-day Training of Trainers (ToT) to learn how to present the lessons and lead exercises. After three days, they themselves led a two-day training for social mobilizers working in the field with children at risk. The inspectors were nervous at first but quickly absorbed the material, even personalizing some of the lessons to make them more relevant to their audience.  Since then, they held a second training for municipal employees in Panauti, an area outside of Kathmandu, which was well received. They have committed to using the curriculum in the future by developing a plan to train new inspectors and others who work on child labor issues.

Cox, center, with participants at a Training of Trainers in Burkina Faso.

More recently I traveled to Burkina Faso to deliver a ToT to 27 inspectors representing each of the country’s 13 regions. These inspectors were also quick learners, and by the end of the training felt confident presenting the material to others. After the ToT, each regional representative created a training plan for how he or she will share the material with other government agencies, local NGOs, trade unions and companies.

Inspectors at a training session in Burkina Faso.

The next stop is Belize at the end of November, followed by Liberia in December and Panama in the new year. The CLEAR II project will close in mid-2019, but the curriculum will live on as inspectors share techniques and strategies for eliminating the worst forms of child labor.

For more information about the DoL-funded Clear II project, visit:

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Heightened awareness of the many ills caused by child labor has led to a global decrease in its incidence. Nevertheless, estimates are that 168 million children worldwide are still engaged in child labor. This program develops the capacity of interested governments to create and implement policies that result in a meaningful reduction of child labor.