Non governmental organizations also lead hy example

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Non-governmental organizations also lead hy example. They are uniquely positioned to implement child- centred approaches at the project level, providing living models of what can and should be clone. It is here that governments, civil society organizations and the public at large can see new ideas turned into successful practice, and become inspired to extend them more broadly. Developing partnership with such organisations to promote child-centred approaches is critical. Through their support or execution of projects working directly with children, NGOs can lead the way in demonstrating at least three of the most essential elements of a child-centred approach. First of all, they can rigorously base their programmes and advocacy on empirical evidence about children rather than simply on mere suppositions and ideological positions. Secondly, they can experiment with various means for incorporating working children's participation into programme planning, implementation and evaluation. Thirdly, they can open new opportunities for working children to represent themselves and undertake their own initiatives, and they can prepare and assist children to seize those opportunities successfully. MEASURES WITH AND BY EMPLOYERS Employers establish the jobs most children perform, as well as the working conditions under which the work is accomplished. They, more than anyone else, hold in their hands the power to change the nature of children's work experience for either better or worse. For that reason alone, it makes sense to persuade and assist employers to protect the well-being and promote the development of any children who work for them. Another reason is that, no matter what the provisions of law, it is almost impossible for labour inspectors or other enforcement agents to penetrate where most children work. Coercion of employers is almost never 21 Promoting the Best Interests of Working Children
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an option. It also makes sense to target the kinds of employers for whom most children work, hut there is a hidden surprise here, for most employers of children are not the businessmen and factory owners assumed by popular stereotypes. Since the large majority of working children work for or with their families, most employers of children are in fact the children's own parents or other relatives. This is not to be dismissed as irrelevant, for the available evidence does not support the common idea that work for family is safer or less exploitative than is work for outsiders. Protection efforts aimed at employers should focus equally on working children's families and on external employers. Experience has shown that much can be clone to educate parents about the health and development risks of certain kinds of work and working conditions and to help them find viable solutions for protecting their working children. There is some evidence that the "pay-off' from working with parents can be especially high," hut still surprisingly little effort or investment is now being channeled to this critical activity. It is a vastly underexplored area for creative action.
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