The Telenor Group has entered into an agreement with UNICEF Norway to combat child labour in Bangladesh through a combination of activities targeting working children, social workers and society at large.
In June 2009, the Telenor Group entered into a five-year agreement with UNICEF Norway to fight child labour in Bangladesh, where an estimated 13 percent of children aged 5-14 work full-time. The project will complement Telenor’s internal efforts to execute responsible supply chain management, which includes efforts to prevent child labour in its supply chain.
A holistic approach
Together, joint funding from Telenor and UNICEF will target over 12,000 child workers each year in six cities in Bangladesh. Telenor’s funds will cover more than 4000 children per year, as well as outreach to around 600 families. Taking a holistic approach, the project comprises three key elements: educating children, educating social workers, and educating society.
Educating children: combination of school, skills training and income
In its approach to educating children, the project takes into account that working children are frequently the supporters of their households. Children working in the streets or in factories will be offered a combination of non-formal education, skills training and safe work placement, guaranteeing a safe source of income. The project will also support families with working children to find better alternatives.
Educating social workers
Institutional capacity is important to the long-term reduction of child labour. Recognising this, the project will offer training to social workers in order to increase their knowledge and capacity to handle working children and the issues of child labour. The training design emphasises train-the-trainer programmes to enable social workers to train their peers in their new knowledge and thus maximise its effects.
Societal attitudes towards children working in hazardous conditions will be addressed through a nation-wide awareness campaign. The campaign will spread information about the harmful effects of child abuse and child labour through the use of both traditional and innovative media.