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Child Labour

Founder(s): UNICEF; Child Rights Consortium
Status:

“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.

Publications from this research project:

Child Labour in Afghanistan: ACBAR Presentation Notes

Notes from a presentation on AREU’s child labour study on 11 November 2009 at the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR).

Confronting Child Labour in Afghanistan: Workshop Proceedings

This one-day workshop brought together representatives of government, donors and NGOs working on issues related to child labour to discuss the findings of AREU’s child labour research programme.

Beyond Poverty: Factors Influencing Decisions to Use Child Labour in Rural And Urban Afghanistan

Read the report’s executive summary.

Confronting Child Labour in Afghanistan

According to recent estimates, one in four Afghan children aged seven to 14 is engaged in some form of work. This briefing paper explores the issue, drawing on findings from an in-depth, qualitative study of poor households that use child Read More

Factors Influencing Decisions to Use Child Labour: A Case Study of Poor Households in Badakhshan

Focusing on Badakhshan Province, this is the second case study in a three-part series examining household decision-making on the use of child labour in urban and rural Afghanistan. The research focuses on factors beyond poverty—such as debt, social relations, educational Read More

Factors Influencing Decisions to Use Child Labour: A Case Study of Poor Households in Herat

This case study of two sites in Herat Province concludes a three-part series examining household decision-making around the use of child labour in urban and rural Afghanistan. This study identifies and explores the ways in which households’ evaluation of education Read More

Factors Influencing Decisions to Use Child Labour: A Case Study of Poor Households in Kabul

This case study from Kabul Province is the first in a three-part series examining household decision-making around the use of child labour in urban and rural Afghanistan. This study identifies and explores the ways in which households’ evaluation of education Read More