NDIGD awarded grant from U.S. Department of Labor to evaluate approaches in reducing child labor

Author: Meg McDermott

The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) was recently awarded an $883,000 grant from the United States Department of Labor, which will be used to implement an impact evaluation, determining the most effective approaches in reducing child labor.

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NDIGD will be working closely with UNICEF Nepal to develop a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) Evaluation that will assess the impact of services and programs aimed at reducing child labor. UNICEF Nepal identified child labor as a priority area in the 2008-2010 Country Program of Cooperation reports, and has since been working across the country’s eight municipalities to develop services such as a child helpline, temporary shelters, counseling and referral to legal services, and formal, non-formal, and vocational education services. NDIGD will be assessing which services prove to be most successful at reducing child labor.

To achieve this, NDIGD will work directly with leaders from each municipality to assess the impact of each service. The goals of the RCT Evaluation include assessing how program services translate into the reduction of child labor, improving the schooling and training opportunities available to children, and finally, to successfully integrate child laborers into society. 

The $883,000 award is significant and timely, as 3.14 million children, or 40% of the population between the ages of 5 and 17, are currently engaged in child labor in Nepal. This is a complex socioeconomic issue, mainly attributed to the expectation of children to contribute to household funds from a very young age.

Economics professor Eva DziadulaAndres Martinez from the Center for Social Research, and NDIGD monitoring and evaluation specialisits Lila Khatiwada, Juan Carlos Guzman, and Danice Brown will be working with three Nepali experts in this study.

Dr. Eva Dziadula, Assistant Professor of the Practice from the University of Notre Dame Department of Economics will be working closely with NDIGD throughout the implementation of the RCT Evaluation. “When I discuss economic growth in developing countries with students, child labor is always a controversial topic. We all agree it is not right, but I emphasize to the students that imposing our standards is not enough. The solutions must go beyond simply making it illegal and alternative opportunities for these children need to exist.  By determining the most effective approaches at combating child labor, the findings of the RCT Evaluation have the potential to reduce child labor, both in Nepal and elsewhere in the world. This is a significant opportunity for the University of Notre Dame to work in conjunction with UNICEF Nepal to not only address this important issue, but also to improve the lives of child laborers.”

The RCT Evaluation is expected to last for four years. NDIGD will begin the evaluation in Fall 2015.

For more information, contact: Joya Helmuth, NDIGD Outreach Associate, jhelmuth@nd.edu