The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour is a global programme launched by the International Labour Organization in December, 1991. India was the first country to join it in 1992 when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ILO. The MOU that expired on 31.12.1996 has thereafter been extended from time to time and has recently been extended till 31st December, 2006. The long-term objective of IPEC is to contribute to the effective abolition of child labour. Its immediate objectives are:
- Enhancement of the capability of ILO constituents and NGOs to design, implement and evaluate programmes for child labour;
- To identify interventions at community and national levels which could serve as models for replication; and
- Creation of awareness and social mobilization for securing elimination of child labour
ILO-assisted programmes relevant to child labour INDUS.
Funded jointly by the Government of India and U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), the project which concluded in 2008 covered 21 districts in five states (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi), and operated in close collaboration with the NCLP and SSA. Launched in February 2004, it identified children working in the target districts, withdrew them from hazardous work and provided them with transitional schooling, pre-vocational education, and social support to prevent relapse. Adolescents who were withdrawn from hazardous work were provided with vocational training and alternatives for income generation. For parents, the project encouraged savings and development of more lucrative livelihoods. The project sought to retain children mainstreamed from transitional to formal education by improving their access to quality schooling. In addition, the project included a monitoring and tracking system, advocacy, and capacity-building of national, state, district and local institutions. The project generated considerable interest in non-project areas prompting INDUS to promote replication of its successful strategies beyond the project areas.
Andhra Pradesh State-Based Project : Funded by the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID), the project was launched in 2000 with the aim of using innovative models involving State agencies, employers’ and workers’ organizations and civil society to address child labour. Its urban model has already been replicated by the State Government. The project has also assisted the State Government develop its state Plan of Action for the elimination of child labour and to set up and finance a State Resource Centre. In the August 2008 review of the project, DfID has agreed to continue funding until March 2009 when state government funding for the Plan of Action will kick in.
Karnataka State-Based Project, Funded by the Italian Government, this project works in Chamarajnagar and Bidar Districts and has components on awareness-raising and education, income generation through skills training and self-employment promotion. It is also promoting the Self-Help Group approach for participatory development and self-sustaining social change. As an alternative to child labour and to provide skills to adolescents, the project partners provide modular-based vocational training. Grass root and block level institutions, including the NCLP Societies are being capacitated to combat child labour. Community child labour monitoring is being established. The project is undertaking policy-oriented research, particularly on child labour in the agriculture sector. It is also pursuing the improvement of working conditions and child labour-free production (for example in silk) in local industries.