Child Labour Essay

9379 Words Nov 11th, 2008 38 Pages
ELIMINATING CHILD LABOUR: DO NGO INTERVENTIONS ADD UP TO A STRATEGY?

Rekha Wazir*

The involvement of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in child labour is fairly recent but it is steadily growing in momentum. However, only a few NGOs have succeeded in achieving recognition in this field at the national level. This paper starts by reviewing a number of inter-linked background factors that circumscribe and curtail the activities of NGOs. This is followed by an analysis of the strategies that NGOs use in addressing child labour. The final section addresses the question whether NGO interventions add up to a strategy for eliminating child labour. In order to be effective, NGO strategies would have to stand up to scrutiny on three
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This situation is made worse by the fact that implementation and enforcement of the meagre legislation that exists is extremely limited. A prime example is the continued existence of bonded labour – for adults and children – despite the Bonded Labour System Act of 1976 which frees all bonded labourers, cancels the debts against them and orders their rehabilitation by the state.

Another striking aspect of child labour policy is that it co-exists or runs parallel to education policy with little cross-reference or discussion between the two. In fact the objectives of the two often clash. For example, universal elementary education has remained a goal, howsoever elusive, of government policy and India is a signatory to the Declaration of Education for All by the year 2000. However, discussions on policy measures to implement these goals have largely taken place without reference to child labour. In fact, by condoning child labour in non-hazardous industries and within the family setting, the government may have built in a mechanism to sabotage its own objective of universalising elementary education. A similar example is provided by the Non-Formal Education Programme which is a key element in the government’s strategy for reaching literacy targets. Instead of making a sizeable proportion of the child population

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