Thursday, January 12, 2012: 2:00 PM
Constitution C (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Background and Purpose: Although child labor is forbidden, many children are working at official or unofficial workplaces. They are obliged to work in workplaces which are poor in safety and hygiene standards by the pressure of their families or their desperate need for money. Since many of them are hired in unofficial workplaces, governmental institutions are unable to control them and any intervention by the authority leads to the closing of the workplaces; consequently, working children conditions worsens. Therefore, nongovernmental organizations are better choices. However, evidence shows that NGOs failed to improve working children conditions. Their intervention led to the dismissal of working children; consequently they were pushed to work in the streets. With regard to the lack of studies in this field, this study is carried out with the purpose of understanding how to improve the employers' sense of responsibility. One local NGO carried out the project in order to use its results in large scale programs. Regarding the dynamic environment and the high risk of working with the target group, it was assumed that only by intervening we can learn how to improve the employers' sense of responsibility. Methods: By taking exploratory- qualitative approach, an action research is designed. The primary plan was carried out in a sample of thirty employers and sixty working children. The research team identified the working places by observation, local people participation and key informants. With the mentoring of social workers, the research team made primary relationship with the employers. According to working place conditions, a special program was designed to each workplace. By recording observation reports and monitoring the children conditions, they collected data and analyzed it. The research team dealt with obstacles in accord with their interpretations of evidence they had gathered. Consequently, the cycle of action research was being repeated and altered through six months. The result of the final report was evaluated and approved by outside experts. Results: This project shows: 1. By keeping constant and face to face relationship with the employers, social intervention can lead them to cooperate. 2. If we indirectly and gradually inform the employers of children rights, we can prevent their negative reactions or resistance. 3. Adopting participative approach results in the cooperation of the target group. 4. If we succeed in persuading the employers that their benefits parallel those of children, safety and hygiene standards of the workplaces would be improved. 5. By offering social services and purposeful training to employers, their behavior towards working children would be improved. Conclusions and Implications: The research suggests that the conceptual model of the intervention is based on the relationship, constancy and trust. It emphasizes the necessity of regularity and constancy in the process of intervention. This study advises policy makers that a general program cannot be applied to each and every employer. Moreover, it recommends social workers to work in parallel with working children and their families.
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