Child Labor Improvements in Bangladesh (CLIMB) Project
Implementing organization : YPSA (Young Power in Social Action)
Supported by : Winrock International
Funded by : United States Department of Labor (USDoL)
Project Implementation Plan : January 1, 2019 – February 28, 2021
Bangladesh’s dried fish sector (DFS) is plagued by some of the worst forms of child labor. Poverty and cycles of indebtedness drive parents to engage their children to increase household incomes to meet basic needs for shelter, food, fuel, clothes and other essentials. DFS is one of the worst forms of child labor (WFCL) in Bangladesh. Some of the worst labor conditions are found in fish drying along the coastal areas—the Sundarbans, and the Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong areas.
Data on child labor in dry fish processing sector is limited but the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) with International Labour Organization (ILO) study of 2011 “Working Children in the Dry Fish Industry in Bangladesh” says that more than 78,000 children work in DFS. BBS/ILO’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC), in their pilot study looking at CL in the DFS, found that 80 percent were boys and, of all the children, 53 percent were between the ages of 10–14 years. Nine percent were between 5–9 years and 38 percent were between 15–17 years old. Children work for hours under direct sun (9-13 hours is common), work with knives, have no protective gear, climb on unstable drying racks and often do not go to school. Laborers (both children and adults) are repeatedly exposed to hazardous chemicals and smoke that cause skin disease and respiratory problems. Indebted labor from pre-payments, delayed and non-payment for work performed are common.
However, data available at GOB, Bureau of Statistics (BBS), Bangladesh Bureau of Education, Information, and Statistics (BBEIS), and the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MoLE) is insufficient and does not provide the full extent of the labor abuse in the DFS. Without sufficient data, it is difficult for the Government of Bangladesh to prioritize and address these labor violations. On the other hand, some of the international organizations have conducted studies, which are often narrowly focused on the sector, geographic areas, or other aspects of the problem of DFS.
The problems in DFS are also underreported in the media. Parents who send their children to work in the dried fish sector may not understand the risks and illnesses that children face from long hours in hazardous conditions, and have limited knowledge of how and where to seek support in addressing violations and vulnerability.
The three-year U.S. Department of Labor funded Child Labor Improvements in Bangladesh (CLIMB) Project started in December 2017 with the aims to improve civil society’s awareness of child labor in the dried fish sector in southeast Bangladesh, and promote acceptable work conditions through more focused efforts by Civil society Organizations (CSOs) and government to identify and address child labor and the vulnerability of communities and households.
Reduced child labor and increased acceptable conditions of work in the dried fish sector in southeast Bangladesh
PROJECT LEVEL OBJECTIVE
Improved capacity of civil society to understand and address child labor and forced child ladbor and promote acceptable conditions of work for children in the DFS in southeast Bangladesh
PROJECT OUTCOMES : ( Implemented by YPSA (Young Power in Social Action)
Outcome : Improved capacity of civil society to implement initiatives to address CL, FCL, and/or unacceptable conditions of work for children in DFS, including facilitated access to grievance mechanisms and remedy for victims of labor exploitation
Outcome 3: Improved capacity of civil society to implement initiatives to address CL, FCL, and/or unacceptable conditions of work for children in DFS, including facilitated access to grievance mechanisms and remedy for victims of labor exploitation
The existing Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) provide working children with educational opportunities, building awareness, advocating and linking them to livelihood and vocational opportunities but few are addressing CL in DFS.
Winrock will partner with YPSA, a Media partner(TBD) and a CSO advocacy & engagement partner ( TBD)to contribute to Outcome 3 of the CLIMB project. Based on identified needs, the CLIMB Project will provide technical assistance and training to the partners to improve their capacity to understand the nature and scope of CL issues in southeast Bangladesh’s dried fish sector and promote acceptable working conditions to have positive impact on the life of the children who are being use in DFS in Bangladesh.
The partners will contribute to;
- Orient, train and support local CSOs on CL research and law/policy, grievance mechanisms, and advocacy, including development of training materials/curriculum
- Raise awareness among vulnerable communities on legal protections and the grievance process;
- Raise awareness among vulnerable communities to recognize and report on violations of CL;
- Collaborate with local level CSOs to raise collective voice of workers to motivate change in the sector;
- Address the services identified in the referral service directory and facilitate access to appropriate services for community members;
- Establish Information/Resource Center at Nazirartek dried fish processing areas to increase access to information on support services;
- Increase CSOs capacity to improve outreach, referrals, and access to livelihood improvement services, skills training and appropriate employment by vulnerable families.
- Link vulnerable young people aged 15–17 to alternative livelihood opportunities in and around Cox’s Bazar;
- Work with civil society to identify appropriate alternative livelihood opportunities for the household members having children under 14;
- Improved CSO advocacy and engagement for increased opportunities for home-based livelihoods for families vulnerable to CL
- Training of CSO partner and CSO in the referral networks on best practice to build awareness and to advocate with government agencies for market-based livelihoods services (gov’t extension services and other relevant public agencies
- Training of government agencies by CSO partner on the situation and needs of vulnerable
- Supporting focus community welfare committees and leadership to developing community development plans to address CL issues through economic empowerment and accessing government support through advocacy andoversight.
- Engagement with the private sector on low skills job opportunities and training for youth 15 -17 and adult members of vulnerable families.
- Advocacy to the DFS business associations about improved work conditions community engagement support.