This is a global project that Nascent RDO is implementing in partnership with Hivos Foundation Netherlands. The project is part of the Global Campaign against Child Labour and is being implemented in Uganda by Nascent RDO in the urban poor slums of Kampala. The project is implemented in other countries including India, Turkey, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, and Mali. Through the project, Nascent RDO has so far enabled a total of over 1600 children to transit from child labor to formal school with about 75 children joining vocational schools.
We use the Area Based Approach (ABA) in the creation of Child Labour Free zones (CLFZ), an approach which we creatively adapted from the MV Foundation model in India. Through this strategy, we work with a set area at a time and mobilize communities and stakeholders to take their children back to school and after declaring the area a child labor free zone, we move to a new site. In each of the CLFZ, we have built a norm and ethos of zero tolerance to child labor. We have so far created 9 child labor free zones in Kasubi Parish, Rubaga division-Kampala. We are currently working in Mapeera and Lusaze zones in the Lubya parish in Rubaga division-Kampala. In sustaining the ethos of children being in school, we have trained young people who continuously engage with community members on issues of child labor and education and sensitize them on other harmful practices like early marriage, child neglect and child abuse, and child exploitation.
While acknowledging the financial difficulties of families in these poor locales, the project has been innovative, and we have worked towards shifting the norms on giving handouts, financial, and other direct school-based support to the poor, characteristic of many programs. Instead, we have borrowed from the philosophy embedded in a Ugandan proverb that teaching a person to fish and giving him/her a fishing net is more empowering than giving the fish. We have therefore worked with families to encourage them to prioritize their expenses, develop a savings culture, and develop their own solutions to financial challenges. We have formed and trained Village Savings and Loans Associations of parents and youth and these have built a savings culture in the community for the creation of assets to support their children’s education.