Where We Work

Reducing Child Labor through Education and Services in Burkina Faso

Project Profile

Region: Africa

Country: Burkina Faso

Areas of Focus: Economic Development

Dates of the project: 2013-2016

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 181 out of 187 on the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index. An estimated 1.25 million children between the ages of five and 14 are in the labor force, many kept there by force and made to work up to 18-hour days, seven days a week. Those working in the cotton industry are exposed to chemicals and pesticides, while those engaged in gold mining are often used to break rocks, carry heavy loads and use harmful chemicals including mercury.

Counterpart’s program will work with Burkina Faso’s government, private sector and primary cotton union among other partners to combat child labor practices.

What We Do
The Reducing Child Labor through Education and Services Program – funded by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Affairs – is a four year program working to combat child labor in the gold mining and cotton industries.

Counterpart will address the key drivers of child labor in three key regions of Burkina Faso—Boucle du Mouhoun, Cascades and Hauts-Bassins—in partnership with Swiss NGO Terre des Hommes.

The program will sensitize families and employers to the problem and invest in social protection mechanisms such as psychiatric help for children removed from the labor force.

It will also work with partners to operationalize a database and monitoring system that can track the use of child labor.

Importantly, the program will also deliver alternative livelihood and income-generating options for families who sent their children into the workforce for their own economic survival.

Projected Impacts
The program is expected to directly benefit 1,000 households and more than 10,000 children working in gold mining and cotton production:

  • 4,000 children and youth withdrawn from exploitive child labor and enrolled in educational re-engagement programs;
  • 6,000 children engaged in, or at high risk of, entering child labor enrolled in formal education services; and
  • 1,000 households developed safe, alternative sources of livelihoods and income.

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