August 18, 2016 - PEP researchers, Ana Lucia Kassouf and Marcos de Oliveira Garcias, shared their findings with more than 350 policymakers and stakeholders during the ARISE (Achieving Reduction in Child Labor in Support of Education) Conference on Family Farming and Child Labor in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
The conference provided a platform for family farmers to discuss the challenges they face in complying with Brazil’s child labor laws and was attended by representatives of the state government departments of Labor, Agriculture, Education, and Human Rights, local councils, and child protection agencies, members of the judiciary, municipal officials, academics and journalists. While many in the audience were child labor reformists, members of agricultural families, who cultivate tobacco and see child labor as a necessity, also attended.
Kassouf presented the findings from the team’s PEP study on the “Impact of child labor on school performance” as part of a panel discussion on “Education as a tool to eradicate child labor”. During the discussion, she drew on the PEP findings to show how child labor, including domestic work, is detrimental to the child’s future.
Using test scores in Mathematics and Portuguese, the PEP research team analyzed the impact of domestic work, non-domestic work and both domestic and non-domestic work on school achievement.
The team’s findings indicate that child labor decreases school performance by up to 10%. This includes the finding that domestic work – generally not counted in social statistics and not considered problematic – can have a negative impact on school performance and should therefore be included in policies designed to combat child labor. During the panel, Kassouf commented that poor academic performance often leads to students dropping out of school, which presents serious problems in the future.
With domestic work commonly being thought of as positive for child development in terms of building responsibility, the team’s findings were a surprise for those in attendance and generated significant media interest. Following the conference, two national television channels, two regional newspapers, and a regional radio station reported the research team’s findings.
Speaking to the team at the conference, Peter Poschen, President of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Brazil, requested that the researchers present their findings at the ILO’s Brasilia office. Furthermore, staff at Winrock International expressed their interest in developing a project with the PEP team.
The conference was organized by Winrock International, the International Labor Organization, TRT (regional labor court), the Brazilian Ministry of Labor, and Japan Tobacco International.