National and International Contexts

Childhood treated as a social construction raises concerns on the condition
of children (elective notes) like early exposure to adult hood,
vulnerability to exploitation be it in various forms; and the several
demarcations of childhood as determined by policy. For example minimum age
of admission to primary education, employment, further education.

Therborn (1996) describes situations of collective action to promote
change. An example cited is UNICEF. It was established in the after math of
world war II as a temporary measure to provide emergency-humanitarian
relief. It soon took over permanency to work for children particulars in
education as a measure that will ensure elimination of child labour and
exploitation. The WHO came up with several programmes to develop children's
well being and health. Another observations development of a rights
perspective and law for children was through a Child Rights Convention.
Collective action lies at heart of policy that aims to promote and
safeguard welfare of children. A rights perspective has the advantage of
going beyond nation state politics to an international law with a norms and
standards approach that treats political environment of children in a more
meaningful manner.

Knuttson (1997) argues that any development approach which is directed at
influencing community change should involve children as active agents of
change and "Emancipation". The impact and role of feminism through impact
on family care and work affects children and their rights. The state of the
World's Children 2007 Report states "Gender Equality and the well being of
Children go hand in hand. When women are empowered to live full and
productive lives children prosper UNICEF'S experience also shows the
opposite. When women are denied equal opportunity within a society children
suffer (Ann M Veneman, Executive Director United Nations children Fund,
State of World in children 2007- UNICEF 2007.)

The International programme on Elimination of Child Labour, (IPEC) is the
International Labour Organistion (ILO) response to provide direct
assistance to countries to tackle child labour and give teeth to the
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child made effective in
1989. Today (IPEC) has 30 funders and 86 programme countries.The ILO in
it's report "The end of child labour; within reach" released in 2006 says,
in 2004 there were 218 million children trapped in child labour of whom 126
million were in hazardous work. However the number of child labourers
globally fell by 11% over the last four years, while that of children in
hazardous work decreased by 26%.

IPEC the campaign instrument against child labour conducted by ILO
commenced in 1992 and has made several break throughs in advocacy; tackling
the worst forms of child labour; developing a learning culture and
mainstreaming child labour within the Decent Work agenda. ILO is also aware
of future challenges. Child labour elimination may be mainstreamed into key
development and Human Rights frame works like Millennium Development Goals
and poverty reduction strategies. (

Child labor first emerged as a major public policy issue with the impact of
the industrial revolution. Industrialized Countries offered several
packages of intervention to overcome presence of child labour like advocacy
campaigns; public inquiries; minimum age legislation; education provision
for working children. These have been expanded, in modern times and many
developing counties have emulated these initiatives.

The Elimination of child labour is linked with provision of compulsory,
free and accessible education. Without educational opportunities it is
likely that children will enter the labour market and take on dangerous and
exploitative jobs. The Dakar Forum of 185 countries resolved to provide all
children of primary age free schooling of quality by year 2015 and
eliminate gender disparities by year 2005. Much remains to be achieved.
Although concept of Education for All has not taken off the ground at an
international scale, efforts are made with community groups, parents,
employers, and government officials to remove children from work
voluntarily and enroll them in school. An example is efforts of an NGO(MV
foundation) made in India in state of Andrah Pradesh. It enabled 150,000
to be enrolled and retained in schools and more than 4,000 bonded labourers
released and of 500 villages under project 168 made free of child labour.
These results were achieved through awareness raising and demand for
education of children; support for teachers through special training;
support parents to provide alternatives to labour of child withdrawn;
provide clearing schools to prepare children for formal education.
(source: Child Labour a Global concern,

Some ILO actions against child labour. One of main aims set for ILO at its
foundation in 1991 was abolition of child labour . ILO standards were
embodied in concept of minimum age for