If children should not be working, where should they be?
The obvious answer is school.
School provides children with significant advantages. It increases their future potential and reduces their chances of being in child labour.
In a move warmly welcomed by Nestlé, the Ivorian government made primary school education compulsory in 2015. However, the government still faces an enormous task to provide schools to every community.
While school-building is the role of government, Nestlé has played its part by building or refurbishing 42 schools in Côte d’Ivoire at a cost of CHF 2.1 million. This has improved access to education for over 10,000 children and young people.
Another major obstacle frequently faced by children is the lack of a birth certificate, which is compulsory for entry to secondary education. Since the start of our programme we have enabled 4,517 children to continue their education by providing them with a birth certificate.
Supporting those who have dropped out of school
In addition to supporting mainstream schools, the Nestlé Cocoa Plan is piloting 17 ‘bridging classes’ – these help children who have dropped out of education to catch-up on missed classes and re-enter school.
Schools built or refurbished
‘Bridging classes’ running
Birth certificates provided
School kits handed out
Unfortunately, improving access to education is only half the battle – 61% of all child labourers identified actually attend school. That means we need to take a broader approach to tackling the issue.
Number of women supported with income-generating activities
Increases in income are eleven times more likely to impact children’s welfare if they are in women’s hands than men’s
Community service groups
In order to support farmers with hazardous tasks and reduce the need to ask their children for help, we have formed community service groups. Made-up mostly of young people, we equip and train these groups, which also provide valuable employment to young adults.
Our research indicates that women tend to spend more of their income on supporting their children than men, and that they may be less inclined to allow their children to become involved in child labour. We help women by providing labour- saving devices and income- generating activities.