Today, Pact released a report detailing the progress of efforts to address child labor in mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The report provides an in-depth look at four years of on-the-ground programming in the country, including progress and challenges.
Around the world, more than 168 million children engage in work that deprives them of their childhood and is harmful to their physical and mental development. Those who work in the mining sector are subjected to one of the worst forms of child labor, according to the International Labor Organization. Throughout Congo, child labor is often a reality in artisanal and small-scale mines.
In 2014, Pact, an international development nonprofit, along with local partners, began implementing Watoto Inje ya Mungoti, or Children Out of Mining, program at tin, tantalum and tungsten mines in the Manono area of Congo’s Katanga province. The program employed a two-pronged approach, focused on raising community awareness of the issues and improving the economic stability of caregivers.
In two years, the project reached 1,881 children with key child protection messaging and training, and contributed to a decrease in the number of children working at mine sites in the area by 89 percent. By the project’s end, 23 mine sites were strictly enforcing bans on child labor.
“While the project has been successful, there remains a lot more work to be done to protect our children from laboring in these difficult circumstances,” said Yves Bawa, Pact’s country director in Congo. “But today we are closer to our goal. We’ve helped so many children take back their futures and know where we need to focus future efforts to reach even more.”
The report, Children Out of Mining, calls for continued dedication and additional resources to address the most deep-rooted economic causes of child labor in mining, the widespread vulnerability and need for economic diversification.
The project, funded by Boeing and Microsoft, was implemented as part of the ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi), a comprehensive due diligence and mineral traceability system implemented in Central Africa by the tin and tantalum industry associations in collaboration with the governments of the region. Pact designed the project based on quantitative and qualitative research undertaken in 2013 with funding from the GE Foundation and documented in the report Breaking the Chain: Ending the Supply of Child-Mined Minerals.
The report was released today as part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s 10th Forum on responsible mineral supply chains in Paris, France.
Download the report, Children Out of Mining, on Pact's website.
For more information about Pact’s work in mining globally, visit https://www.pactworld.org/mining.