Implementers of the biggest cash transfer programs, such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Philippines, Program Keluarga Harapan (PKH) of Indonesia, Bolsa Familia (BF) of Brazil, and Prospera of Mexico, gathered earlier this week at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Makati City, to share how their respective CCT programs are addressing child labor in their own countries.
The gathering of implementers, dubbed, “International Workshop on Conditional Cash Transfers as Tools to Address Child Labor”, was organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) through its Understanding Children’s Work (UCW) program, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). It brought to light the different cash transfer programs’ characteristics, including targeting of beneficiaries and amount of cash grants, and how these impact on child labor.
It is also served as a venue to generate new ways to improve the programs’ effectiveness in removing children from labor.
In her message during the event, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that “in extreme cases of poverty, children are made to work to augment the family income, hence, they are denied the space needed to grow up in a normal, happy environment.”
Child-labor free PH
To decrease the incidence of child labor in the country, Sec. Soliman said that the DSWD is strengthening its partnership with DOLE through the provision of employment opportunities to parent-beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya to ensure that they will not force their children to work.
Likewise, DSWD, through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), provides technical and capital assistance to beneficiaries who want to build their own entreprenurial activities, while it facilitates employment for those who want to have jobs by accessing them to different public and private agencies.
Sec. Soliman further said that through the Family Development Sessions (FDS), parents are educated on raising their children properly encouraging them to go to school rather than forcing them to work. Attendance to FDS is one of the program conditionalities.
FDS is conducted monthly by DSWD and partner-NGOs in coordination with the private sector and civil society organizations. It is a venue where topics on effective parenting, husband and wife relationships, child development, laws affecting the Filipino family, gender and development, home management, active citizenship, and electoral education are discussed.
“We can continue working together to fight child labor and build a brighter future for children. Our aim is to have child labor-free barangays,” Sec. Soliman said.
Sec. Soliman added that the result of the 2nd round of impact evaluation on Pantawid Pamilya is leading toward the goal of child labor-free barangays.
It showed that the program has allowed children to prioritize education.
“The results of the impact evaluation also gave us a glimmer of hope, since it showed that Pantawid Pamilya children, 10-14 years old, work seven days less in a month compared to non-Pantawid Pamilya children,” Sec. Soliman said.
She explained that while the program cash grants are not enough to completely keep children from working, it has made beneficiary-children spend less time working compared to their non-beneficiary counterparts, presumably due to increased time spent in schooling.
Cash transfers: key to eliminating child labor in other countries
Presenting the salient features of their respective countries’ CCT programs were Director Leonardo Reynoso, National Program Manager of Pantawid Pamilya; Paula Montagner of the Department of Evaluation and Information Management, Brazil; Josue Vargas, Chief Information, Analysis and Evaluation Officer, Prospera; and Oktia Dwi Permana of Indonesia’s PKH.
Montagner reported that the Brazilian Constitution adopted in 1988 prohibits any form of work up to the age of 13 years old while 14 to 15-year-old adolescents are allowed to participate in formal apprenticeship programs, as long as they keep attending school, while those between the ages of 16 and 17 years can work but still are subject to restrictions.
Since the start of the Bolsa Familia program in 2004, the number of child- laborers aged 5 to 15 years decreased from 3.1 million to 1.36 million in 2014, while those aged 5 to 17 years decreased from 5 million to 2.83 million from 2004 to 2014.
This showed that the program has been effective in increasing school enrollment and decreasing dropout rates, and has improved the prospects for generations of children.
On the other hand, Vargas said that in their country, the Federal Labour Law strictly prohibits minors under 15 years of age to engage in economic work and establishes the conditions under which those between 15 and 18 years of age may work.
According to his report, child labor rate in Mexico had constantly decreased since 1996. From 2011 to 2013 the number of working minors from 5 to 17 years old decreased by 17.6%.
The decrease in child labor is related to the demographic transition, which is changing the population structure, and the outcomes of public policies, particularly scholarships granted to minors for them to remain in school.
Prospera offers scholarships for basic education, senior high school, higher education, technical, non-formal education and training for work, and support for school supplies.
On the other hand, according to Oktia, the government has responded to the problem of child labor through regulation, social protection system, and implementation of integrated programs such as PKH, Kartu Indonesia Pintar/ Indonesian Smart Program (KIP), Withdrawal of Child Labor Program (PPA PKH), School Operational Assistance and Skills Courses (in Shelter).
Oktia said that PKH CCT has been found to have a significant impact on reducing the working hours of school children. It has also improved access to outpatient health services.
DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III and Furio Rosati, UCW Program Coordinator both emphasized that CCT programs hold a lot of potential in combating child labor in the countries where these are implemented. # Source – www.dswd.gov.ph