The global campaign “Dialogue Works – Anchoring working children’s participation in societal and political processes” (Dialogue Works, 2020-2024) was initiated by the two child-rights organisations Kindernothilfe (KNH) and Terre des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF). It is co-funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The project aims to expand and institutionalise spaces for working children to participate in local to global political debates and to express their individual experiences, perspectives and recommendations to political stakeholders. The core of the campaign are Children’s Advisory Committees (CACs) that have been formed in 15 countries worldwide and that serve as a platform for working children to plan and implement advocacy dialogues with key stakeholders, thereby realising their right to be heard (Art. 12 UNCRC).
This campaign builds on the success and outcomes of the predecessor, the global campaign and research project “It’s Time to Talk! – Children’s Views on Children’s Work” (Time to Talk, 2016-2020).
Dialogue Works considers itself as a neutral space and platform for working children’s views and suggestions. The overall objective is to realize working children`s right to participation as enshrined in Art. 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
2021 has been declared the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. Following a call by the Alliance 8.7, the campaign has submitted an Action Pledge illustrating our commitment to support working children and youth worldwide:
“By the end of 2021 the Dialogue Works campaign will have supported the formation of 25 working children’s advisory committees worldwide, which will implement their own advocacy dialogues to share their experiences, voice their needs and recommendations. The campaign thereby aims to create spaces for exchange between working children and political decision-makers on local, national, regional and global level.”
We collaborate with more than 20 partners worlwide. Some of them have also been part of our previous campaign It’s Time to Talk!, others have joined in 2020. Check out our interactive map to see who we are working with and where.
„Dialogue Works“ Partner Organisations
|Facilitators for Change (FC)
|Action for Children in Conflict (AfCiC)
|Welfare for Children and Youth (WCY)
|Children’s Voice Today (CVT)
|Tanzania Association of Women Leaders in Agriculture and Environment (TAWLAE)
|Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM)
|Coalition against Child Labour Zimbabwe (CACLAZ)
|Centre for Services and Information on Disability (CSID)
|National Institute for Women, Child and Youth Development (NIWCYD)
|Pusat Kajian dan Perlindungan Anak (PKPA)
|Children and Women in Social Service and Human Rights (CWISH)
|Christian Advocates for Justice and Development in Negros (CAJDEN)
|Pastoral Social Cáritas Potosí (PASOCAP)
|Centro Ecuménico de Integración Pastoral (CEIPA)
|Centro de Estudios Sociales e Publicaciones (CESIP)
|Instituto de Formación para Educadores de Jóvenes, Adolescentes y Niños Trabajadores de América Latina y el Caribe (IFEJANT)
|Palestinian Women´s Humanitarian Organization (PWHO)
Children and Work
Global estimates by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UNICEF indicate that in 2020 160 million children aged 5-17 years worldwide were engaged in some form of work. After twenty years of decrease, the current figures indicate that more and more children are involved in some form of paid or unpaid activity. These figures even predate the global COVID-19 pandemic, which is expected to have forced many more children to take up work by causing school closures, costs for health services and heightening the economic pressure on them.
Children’s work as such is a complex issue and the terminology used is often confusing. The term child labour is used inconsistently by different agencies. Some governments and individuals use child labour as a term to encompass all types of children’s work, while others use it to denote only harmful children’s work. This has the potential to create misunderstanding. The experience of working children shows that many work in an unsafe and unhealthy environment, with little or no pay, where they are unable to pursue their education and other rights or even experience severe harm. Others however work in dignified situations that are neither harmful nor exploitative, where they are able to learn technical, business and life skills, earn an income and realize their citizenship as active members of their community. In addition, children are a very diverse group, with varying socio-economic backgrounds and identities as a result of class, race, gender, age, culture and religion. The type of work carried out by children, the hazards involved and the way in which these hazards can be mitigated all vary depending on the above factors – particularly when it comes to gender.
Key to understanding this complexity is the perspective of working children themselves. Their participation is key for identifying policy measures that tackle the problem in a nuanced way and create the ground for sustainable change.
It’s Time to Talk! – Children’s Views on Children’s Work
Thus, we wanted to discover what working children themselves think about their work and potential measures to improve their situation. The global campaign & research project “It’s Time to Talk!” kicked off in 2016 and consulted more than 1.800 working children worldwide. The consultations were guided child righty bases approach, and their development and implementation were supported by 11 Children’s Advisory Committees (CACs). In 2017, we were able to present the findings of the consultation at a side event to the IV. Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour.
But even though consultation is a great start – collaboration is even better. Therefore, we decided to continue our work and increase the level of working children’s participation in the new Dialogue Works project. We now focus more strongly on collaboration and cooperation with the CACs, and support them in their own advocacy initiatives.