ABK3-LEAP Project: World Vision’s campaign against child labor at the sugarcane area

After receiving a $15 Million grant from the US Department of Labor (USDOL), World Vision spearheaded a 4-year campaign that will focus on combating child labor at the sugarcane areas in the country. The project is called the ABK3-LEAP: Livelihoods, Education, Advocacy and Protection to Reduce Child Labor in Sugarcane, and it started late last year until 2014. Together with the implementing partners ChildFund Philippines (CF), Education Research Development Assistance (ERDA), Group Sugar Industry Foundation, Inc. (SIFI), Community Economic Ventures, Inc. (CEVI), and University of the Philippines Social Action and Research for Development Foundation, Inc. (UP-SARDF), they will target 52,000 Children who are either engaged or at high risk of child labor in the Sugarcane Industry including the 25, 000 households (family).

There are 11 areas in the country where the World Vision’s “Pag-Aaral ng Bata para sa Kinabukasan” (ABK) will be focusing. Areas included on the list are Batangas, Camarines Sur, Capiz, Iloilo, Cebu, Leyte, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, Bukidnon, Davao del Sur and North Cotabato. With the help of government agencies, like Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Sugar Regulatory Administration the project will be implemented accordingly in every areas that are on the list of World Vision and the local government units will be devoting their time and service in order to fight child labor in the country. In the message of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo he says that through this project they can say in the future the Philippines had won the fight against child labor and there is “no” cases of child labor anymore in the country.

In reality, there are around 4 million Filipino children who are forced to work daily in hazardous and exploited labor. Children at the age of 5-17 are prostitution, domestic work, mining, fishing industries, and agricultural labor and according to Daphne Culanag, the Project Director of the ABK 3 LEAP, children must be on school and must be protected in any forms of exploitation and forced labor because it is their rights. The ABK 3 LEAP is the third cycle of the ABK project of World Vision together with its partner that focuses on child labor. During their first and second ABK project they focus on areas like scavenging, prostitution, quarrying, mining and working in firework factories. With the two (2) projects that already bring back the children to school and give alternative livelihood for the families that will no longer require their children to work on the early age.

Culanag discussed the 5 objective of the ABK 3 LEAP including:

  1. Reduce child labor through provision of direct education, livelihood, social protection and youth employment services and linkages to support services
  2. Strengthen policies and capacity on Child Labor, Education, Sustainable Livelihood and Social Protection
  3. Raise Awareness on Exploitative Child Labor, its root causes, the importance of education, social protection and decent work for children/youth of legal working age
  4. Support Research, Evaluation and the collection and dissemination of reliable data on Child Labor, its root causes and/or effective strategies
  5. Promoting long-term sustainability of efforts to combat exploitative child labor livelihood

With a tagline – Sugar is Sweeter Without Child Labor aims to protect children from forced labor, exploitation and health risk because of the dangerous area. Since ABK was established in 2003, World Vision has assisted more than 61,000 children engaged or at risk of the worst forms of child labor in 9 provinces in the country in support of the Department of Education’s “Education for All” (EFA) Goals and the Philippine Program Against Child Labor. With the grant given by USDOL, the project will reach out to bigger population of child labor.

Know more about the project of World Vision and how to help, visit www.worldvision.org,ph.

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