Over sixteen million children between ages 5 and 17 are engaged in labour in South Asia, according to estimates from recent years, with the highest levels in absolute terms found in India, followed by Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. The ILO’s Asia Regional Child Labour Project (ARC) was implemented in 2019 with the aim of reducing vulnerability to child labour and enhancing protection of children from exploitation in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan.
ECOPER has recently begun the ARC project’s midterm evaluation and has also conducted an evaluability assessment, which will serve as a source of information for the evaluation and the project team. The evaluation will assess the project’s regional and national implementation. National consultants in four countries – Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan – will conduct field work which includes site visits, with stakeholder interviews and focus groups, in addition to reviewing national documents. The mixed-method evaluation approach will also include an online stakeholder survey and interviews with the project team and key ILO staff. As a mid-term evaluation, the findings will inform the second phase of implementation until September 2023, when the project is due to finish.
The ARC project works towards three overarching objectives: building a credible knowledge base on the causes and drivers of child labour and effective interventions to address them; aligning legislation and policies with international conventions on child labour, forced labour and trafficking in persons and enforcing and implementing them; and developing and applying a holistic approach to eradicating child labour, particularly its worst forms, in selected regions of each country. It is funded by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office with a view to contributing to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 8.7, which includes ending child labour in all its forms by 2025.