“Poor households conduct a complex cost-benefit analysis as they assess the trade-offs between work and school. Individual children may combine both, but it is often difficult to balance the competing priorities of these diverse activities…”
AREU’s child labour project examined the forces influencing whether, how and why children in poor Afghan households work. Its findings draw on case studies conducted in Badakhshan, Kabul and Herat Provinces in 2007-08.
The study suggests that while poverty is an ever-present background, it is far from being the monolithic driving force behind child labour it is often assumed to be. Decisions on child labour are often highly context-specific, taking into account factors such as the strength of social support networks and the relative importance of education in community norms, as well as individual household characteristics. Households regularly sought to balance a need for labour against the acknowledged long-term benefits of education, and setting children to work was shown to result in a range of positive and negative economic and psychological impacts. Results also indicated the level of diversity among experiences of child labour.