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Addressing the problem of child labour in India through better usage and analysis of data

IER’s 2018-19 partnership with Child Rights for You (CRY) and NGO in India is an example of IER’s knowledge exchange work with non-Governmental actors.

According to a report by World Bank Group and UNICEF, India is home to over 30% of the world’s children living in extreme poverty. There are more than 10.2 million children aged 5-14 in work; the number is even higher if it includes those who are managing both school and paid work. Over the past two decades India has implemented a range of laws and programmes to protect child rights and to address the problem, but despite these measures, the incidence of child labour has increased in urban India. Child labour is intrinsically linked to various socio-economic factors. Understanding the roles of these factors requires rich and updated data to help make evidence-based policy. In India, however, data focusing on children and their well-being are scarce.

To address these problems, a partnership was developed between IER and CRY to examine their existing data on children, their family members and communities, and make recommendations to support children’s rights throughout India. CRY aims to protect children's rights, and works on issues such as child labour, malnutrition, childhood poverty, child marriage, child trafficking, education, and gender inequality. CRY works collaboratively with grassroots NGOs by providing them with funds, programme monitoring, building their skills, perspectives and capacities in addressing issues that affect children and their families.

The collaboration included a week visit to CRY’s Policy, Research, Advocacy and Documentation centre in Mumbai as well as a week visit to their branch office in Bangalore, India to work closely with the organisation and understand the databases that the NGO already held. The project promoted a better understanding of child labour in India and benefited the NGO by providing them with an assessment of their existing data sources, how the data could be improved, and how its impact could be increased.

A workshop was held at IER in March 2019 which brought together academics and the CEO of CRY to discuss issues including child education, malnutrition among children in India, childhood poverty, child labour, child marriage, and child rights.

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