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September 30, 2021

RICHES Toolkit for Women's Economic Empowerment Actors: Understanding, Mitigating, and Preventing Child Harm and Promoting Child Protection

Contextual analysis and collaborative efforts with microfinance institutions, financial service providers, and other women’s empowerment-focused civil society organizations (CSOs) working on women’s economic empowerment (also referred to as "WEE") issues have identified barriers and risks faced by women in establishing economic independence. Among these is the reliance on children as workers to support businesses and contribute to the economic wellbeing of the family. It is necessary to understand this challenge and to find ways to mitigate unacceptable conditions of work, prevent child harm and to promote child protection.

The Reducing Incidence of Child Labor and Harmful Conditions of Work in Economic Strengthening Initiatives (RICHES) program is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. Through the program, ABA ROLI and Grameen Foundation researched and developed recommendations and resources for civil society, financial service providers, policymakers, and other implementers to address a) mitigation of child harm and b) an increase in child protection in their work. The program conducted a Pre-Situational Analysis (PSA) to understand the intersection of women’s economic lives and child work, the positive and negative ramifications, and the level of awareness and needs around child protection and eradicating harmful working conditions.

The PSA found that individuals who work on women’s economic empowerment globally and their clients have low awareness of the issues around child harm and how to prevent and respond to it in their work. It also found few examples of program implementation on the intersection of these issues overall. 

The Toolkit

Using the PSA findings, ABA ROLI and Grameen Foundation developed a robust toolkit to promote dialogue around child protection; build personal, household, and organizational capacity on understanding and mitigating child harm; and incorporate these themes into women’s business services. The toolkit comprises 18 tools and uses a phased approach primarily targeting FSP staff, management, and women clients. 

The RICHES Toolkit was piloted with over 36 entities (including CSOs, multilateral organizations, and international NGOs) in over 12 countries and across 5 continents. ABA ROLI and Grameen Foundation continue to incorporate feedback from the initial pilot, including consolidating information within tools, increasing their applicability, and creating a standard minimum package for use by any organization in this field.

As 2021 is the International Year of the Child, ABA ROLI and Grameen Foundation are simultaneously embarking on additional introductory trainings and events on the toolkit. The events will be done alongside women’s economic empowerment CSOs and financial service providers across Asia, Latin America, and Africa. There will also be broader outreach to the international policy community on the toolkit.

 To access the RICHES Toolkit, please contact [email protected] with questions.   

Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-31469. 100% percentage of the total costs of the project or program is financed with federal funds, for a total of $1,872,000 dollars. This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government.