How CLMRS work in practice
Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) are embedded in company supply chains in order to identify, address, and prevent, child labour. They are effective at reducing child labour among identified children by up to 50%.
CLMRS are built around community facilitators (often farmers themselves) who are connected to cocoa-farming cooperatives. These facilitators visit households, raise awareness on the dangers of child labour, and identify children engaged in hazardous work. If a child is found in child labour, they are recorded in the system and support is provided to the child, their family and/or community.
Child labour is a complex problem. Even after receiving support, it is not always easy for a child to stop working definitively, especially as the risk of child labour increases as a child grows older. This is why it is important to conduct regular follow-up visits – facilitators aim to do so every six months – to check how children are getting on and determine whether further support is required.
Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems implement four key functions:
- Raising awareness on child labour and resulting harm amongst farmers, children, and members of the wider community.
- Identifying children in child labour through an active monitoring process, using standardized data collection tools.
- Providing both prevention and remediation support to children in child labour, and others at risk, and documenting the support provided.
- Following-up with children identified in child labour to monitor their status on a regular basis until they have stopped engaging in child labour.
Remediation to address and prevent child labour
When a child is identified in or at risk of child labour several options are available to help resolve the situation through a CLMRS approach. These can be targeted at different levels, including individual children, farming households, or entire communities:
- Quality education: Children must have access to and be able to attend school, though this can be a significant challenge for rural cocoa communities. Supporting communities to create a good school environment for children by constructing or renovating facilities, including toilets and canteens, can help to increase both enrolment and attendance. Children can also receive school kits to equip them with what they need to learn. Running bridging classes can also enable out-of-school children to catch up on missed classes, while facilitating access to birth certificates can contribute to getting children into school and helping them to remain there.
- Support for farmer livelihoods: Poverty and reliance upon cocoa as a single crop are two factors that can place children at higher risk of child labour. Farmers need to earn a living income if child labour is to be eliminated. Our work with farmers focuses on supporting them to diversify their income. This can reduce the vulnerability of farming families to income shocks that can, in some cases, increase the risk for children. We help farming families set up alternative income-generating activities, including other agricultural crops or small businesses. These activities can also increase community cohesion and link up with other forms of support such as Village Savings and Loans Associations.
- Women’s empowerment: Many of the activities implemented under the CLMRS can benefit women. Adult literacy classes, the set-up of small business or income-generating activities, and Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) can all play a role in addressing power imbalances between men and women, empowering women and enabling them to take on more decision making which can often result in better child protection.
With our members, we are working to scale up CLMRS and similar systems to cover 100% of the cocoa supply chain in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana by 2025. If you are a cocoa trading, processing or manufacturing company and would like to know more about implementing CLMRS in your supply chain, please get in touch.