CHF Helps Launch the National Framework to Combat Child Labor in Jordan

studentOn January 10, 2012, the Jordan CECLE program (Combating Exploitive Child Labor through Education), funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, held an event to launch the National Framework to Combat Child Labor in Jordan. Participants included Her Majesty Queen Rania AlAbdulla, representatives from the Jordanian Ministries of Education, Labor and Social Development, program partners and beneficiaries. The event included discussions around child labor in Jordan and efforts focused at eliminating child labor in the country.

The launch began with an orientation of the CECLE program, implemented by CHF International in partnership with Questcope for Social Development in the Middle East and the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA), in cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Education. Approximately 7,000 children are enrolled in the CECLE program; of that, 1,974 children were fully withdrawn from child labor, and 4,759 children were prevented from entering child labor.

The participants reviewed the current situation of exploitative child labor in Jordan and the mechanisms that CECLE has used to coordinate efforts of all stakeholders involved in child labor issues. In addition, the CECLE Program Director presented the program’s goals, results and future plans, including progress made towards withdrawing children from exploitative labor and returning them to education streams, as well as preventing children at risk of dropping out of education and entering labor.

All participants then listened to children who have benefited from CECLE’s interventions, presenting their success stories of leaving exploitative labor and returning to education. The children spoke of the impact CECLE has had on their lives and their new outlook towards the future.

Auday dropped out of school in the 6th grade to work as a car mechanic. He enrolled with CECLE NFE when he was 16 and is now about to graduate from the 3rd cycle of NFE. The 19 year old student, said, “The best thing I did in my life was leave work and enroll back into education. I have a hope in the future now. I advise every child to stay in school because education, not work, will guarantee your future.”

Helein dropped out of school when she was 13 and worked at beauty salons. When she was 17 she joined the IFE center in Amman where she learned life skills, reading, writing, and beautification vocational training; Helein is now planning to open her own salon when she graduates this year. Helein’s mother said, “Helein now is completely a different person. She has social activities and is very optimistic about tomorrow.”

The discussion included a summary of the National Framework to Combat Child Labor drafted in coordination with local counterparts. The Framework aims at providing clear dividing lines of roles and accountability of government and non government institutions in the effort to identify and eliminate child labor in Jordan. Each Ministry commented on the role of their respected entities in the Framework and the mechanisms that they will use in its implementation. In addition, representatives of community based and community service organizations presented the role they have in implementing the national framework and the supporting services that they will provide, such as assisting government institutions in identifying and reporting child labor, implementing awareness campaigns or offering support to affected children and their families.

At the end of National Framework's review, Her Majesty Queen Rania AlAbdulla thanked the organizations partnering with the CECLE program and stressed the importance of continued and concerted efforts of all to work to reduce exploitive child labor in Jordan before it reaches a point that cannot be defeated. She stated that she looks forward to celebrating the country’s success in reducing the number of working children in Jordan, and will continue to work towards the goal of making Jordan a country free of child labor.