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Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Colombia

Latin America and the Caribbean U.S. Department of Labor 2007 2011

In association with Partners of the Americas (lead grantee), Mercy Corps, and CINDE (a Colombian organization specializing in early childhood education and research), DevTech replicated the successful Espacios para Crecer (Spaces for Growth) and Espacios para Emprender (Spaces for Entrepreneurship) programs in Colombia. Espacios para Crecer (EpC) was developed under the DOL-funded project Combating Child Labor through Education in the Dominican Republic (2003-2007) and Espacios para Emprender (EpE) under the new DOL-funded project Combating Exploitative Child Labor through Education in the Dominican Republic (2007-2011) in the Dominican Republic.

In Colombia, the project worked to withdraw or prevent more than 10,000 Colombian children and adolescents from engaging in exploitative child labor by delivering educational opportunities, implementing strategies to raise awareness about the child labor problem, and supporting the improvement of education and child labor policies.

The project worked in the most conflictive and poorest barrios of Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta, and in poor rural areas of the provinces of Santander and Boyacá where armed conflict has been a way of life during the past few decades.

The EpC and EpE programs focus on children who are involved in the worst forms of child labor: commercial sexual exploitation, street sales (ranging from food to drugs), carrying heavy packages in market areas, work in small machine shops, work in agriculture with dangerous tools and toxic substances. The programs have enabled children and adolescents to improve their self-image, gain valuable social and academic skills and as a result attend school regularly and improve their academic performance.