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Siera Grass-roots Agency (SIGA)

Child Labor and Children Education

About SIGA
Advisory Board Members
History and Acknowledgements
Child Labor and Children Education
Employment Promotion for Youths
Youths and Women in Governance
Forestry and the Environment
Cassava Processing and Marketing
Gravity-Fed Clean Water

Support to the Education and Welfare of Disadvantaged Children




Project Title


Movement to Educate Children in Work Situation (MECWS)


Status of Project

On-Going. This is the continuation of the MECWS project started in May 2006

Estimated Cost

$250,000 US

Duration of the project

Project period is thirty six (36) months

Geographic Area and Profile of  intended target group

The project is being implemented in the Tonkolili district, northern Sierra Leone. The project headquarters town is Mile 91, located 146 km east of the capital Freetown.

Tonkolili District is in the centre of the country, Sierra Leone. The district population is over 345,000 

The Direct Beneficiaries are 300 (60% female, 40% male) children in work situations and those at risk of being in work situations in villages and towns in the Tonkolili District.

The beneficiaries include children between the ages 6 to 17 years that are being used or at risk of being used purely for labor and income generation in the project areas. These are children found working as domestics, in cookery shops, bars, farms, trading in the streets, leading blind begging parents with no opportunities or plans for their education.


Project Idea

Why is the proposed project needed?  



The ten years civil war in Sierra Leone exacerbated child labor considerably. It devastated social and economic activities. Schools were destroyed, social behavior degenerated. The low level of understanding regarding HIV/AIDS and its transmission and prevention further compounds the problem. Most of the women and young girls suffered sexual violence exposing them to HIV/AIDS infection and some even ended up being single parents. 

The deplorable social and economic situation in Sierra Leone is an excuse most parents, guardians and adults rely heavily on the children for farm work, trading foodstuff and other economic activities that include prostitution for family upkeep, and most of these children do not go to school. The war also created thousands of orphans and unaccompanied children who have found themselves in work situations in rural and urban communities. The illegal trafficking of especially the orphans is now on the increase.

All children have the right to grow in an environment that protects them from violence, exploitation, abuse and discrimination. The physical and intellectual immaturity of children makes them particularly vulnerable to human right abuse. Their ill treatment calls for special attention because children cannot speak for themselves.

Despite the near universal ratification of the rights of the child, children in Sierra Leone are still denied their basic rights. There is very little or no documentation on child labor, trafficking and even street children in the relevant government institutions in the country. The country has suffered serious economic and social devastation such that the rights of children are hardly considered in the government’s recovery process. In effect, most of the children continue to suffer appalling abuses.  Too often street children just disappear. Some are recruited to work in narcotics, quarry, gold and diamond mines under extremely difficult conditions.

Goal and Key  Objectives of the project:


The lives of 300 children in work situation would have been improved after they have been removed from work situations and acquired basic formal primary education.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  • A total of 300 children in work situations and those at risk are enrolled for primary school education in Mile 91 and surrounding towns and communities in the Tonkolili district in 3 years of project operations.
  • All 300 targeted children and 300 parents/guardians, employers, custodians of the children in the program (total 600 persons) will have increased knowledge on children’s rights issues and HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention as a result of the yearly workshops organized by the project
  • The income generation capacity of the 300 custodians of the targeted children would be improved so that they can sustain the education of the children when the project support ceases.

Main activities of the project.


Key project activities will include:

         Continue the enrollment of the remaining 300 (180 female, 120 male) children found in work situations.

         Monitoring the school and home activities of the children in towns and villages in the district to determine the level of exploitation in work situations.  

         Organize sensitization workshop, meetings for children and parents, guardians on children protection and labour and HIV/AIDS.

         Conduct small business management training for parents, guardians, custodians of the children to improve the income generation capacity.

         Monitoring, Evaluation and reporting on the project

Short-term outcomes and long-term impacts expected of this project?

Children exploited for labour purposes are the target of this MECWS project. Children happen to be the most marginalized when it comes to development activities in rural Sierra Leone even though their development and proper upbringing is a major catalyst for nation building.  

On the short term,

         All 300 children in the MECWS will receive three years of basic primary education, know their basic rights and responsibilities

         The MECWS outreach and sensitisation exercises will discourage parents, guardians, custodians of children from using them purely for labor. It will also encourage them to continue supporting the education of the children after the MECWS support ceases.

On the long term,

         The three years of MECWS support and staff interaction with parents, guardians, custodians and the children will strengthen their resolve to either continue with higher formal education or acquire quality survival skills training for a better chance to improve their lives and that of their families.


Partners in the project


Bread for the World (Germany)


Children and Charity International (USA)





35 Ferguson Street * Freetown, Sierra Leone West Africa

                    Tel:+232- 22 220884                              Mobile: +232 -76-603491