Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world – both in terms of area and population – and the largest in Latin America by a considerable margin. It is also a country with considerable disparities of income, both within and across the urban-rural divide. Because approximately 80% of Brazilians live in towns and cities, investment and government spending tends to be concentrated in built-up areas. Those living in rural communities often face challenges including a lack of quality education, poor healthcare, and underinvestment in infrastructure.
The ARISE program commenced in southern Brazil in February 2012 and was developed around the municipality of Arroio do Tigre in an area known as the Celeiro do centro-serra, in the southernmost state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul. This state differs from the rest of the country in its geography and its economy, where there is a mid-income level compared to lower levels in the rest of the country. Within the municipality, the program initially focused on the communities and surrounding areas of São Roque, Linha Ocidental, Taboãozinho, Rocinha, Sitio Alto, Coloninha, Vila Progresso, Linha Paleta, Linha São Pedro, and Linha Cereja. These areas were selected because of the high potential risk of child labor and the vulnerability of many children there. Interestingly child labor occurs there not so much because of poverty principally but rather due to a complex set of factors including cultural beliefs, the predominance of family farms, and a lack of awareness of the hazards of child labor. Today the program is in Arroio do Tigre, Ibarama, Sobradinho and Lagoa Bonita do Sul.
On the ground the ARISE program is being delivered together with local partners Escola Família Agrícola (EFA) and Cooperativa dos Profissionais da Assitência Técnica e Extensão Rural (COOPATER).
Malawi is one of Africa’s poorest countries and it is this poverty that is a major contributor to the incidence of child labor, particularly in the agricultural sector, which accounts for almost half of the country’s GDP. The problem of child labor in Malawi is exacerbated by the high prevalence of HIV/ AIDS, and there are a large number of orphans vulnerable to child labor. Culturally ingrained beliefs are also an issue, with children expected to contribute to their family’s domestic economy, not only to provide additional income, but also to build a work ethic and appreciation for the family unit. ARISE was launched in Malawi in February 2012 and focuses on 20 villages in the tobacco-growing districts of Ntcheu and Lilongwe (the rural area surrounding the city).
ARISE is managed from Lilongwe, the Malawian capital. Amongst other positions, those driving the program include a Program Director, an Agribusiness Specialist, and a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist. ARISE also depends on close collaboration with local implementing partners. The 10 villages in each district were selected using a number of criteria including existing levels of child labor, the incidence of HIV/AIDS, the level of community engagement, the degree of women’s participation in the local economy, and the presence of farmers’ associations, cooperatives, and other community networks. In Malawi, traditional authorities and civic leaders play an important role in local government and community leadership, making their involvement a critical component in the wider success of the ARISE program.
Although Zambia is not among the poorest of African countries, it nonetheless faces a number of daunting challenges and poverty remains widespread. It is a nation severely affected by HIV/AIDS, which compounds existing economic and social problems. It has a substantial agricultural sector and tobacco is one of the country’s most valuable cash crops. Child labor in Zambia is widespread, with most child labor being unpaid family work, although some children work to generate an income for themselves or their families.
In Zambia child labor and lack of access to education are closely linked. Many parents may have their children begin work because their nearest school is not accessible, affordable, or capable of providing good quality, relevant education. Although enrollment has risen in recent years, availability has not kept up with demand, creating overcrowded classrooms and double, or even triple, shifts during the day, resulting in high student-to-teacher ratios and reduced hours of learning.
ARISE was launched in April 2013 in the tobacco-growing area of Kaoma District, part of Zambia’s Western Province. Activities are operated in 12 communities that were selected on the basis of a number of criteria, including the absolute level of child labor, children’s vulnerability (often as a result of the impact of HIV/AIDS), the involvement of local leaders in their communities, and the communities’ willingness to provide support to, and take ownership of the activities.