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To ensure the safety and protection of children and workers in the sugar farm, SIFI through RSS Program and partner mills – HPCo, VMC and Lopez Sugar launched in February 2021 the “IACAP” or Integrated ARBO Child Labour and PPE Program and Services.

The program aims to specifically reduce or eliminate child labour practices and sustain appropriate PPE use in the sugar farming communities, even beyond RSS program assistance. This is part of the evolution of the CL and PPE program, consistent with the integration path this year.

In the past 4 years of the RSS program, CL and PPE interventions were mostly SIFI or mill-led. In Y2019-2020, ARBO’s involvement have increased with their actions such as covering 30% of PPE costs for all working members, echoing orientations for members, and leading in part awareness raising activities participated in by children of sugar farmers.

The IACAP Program and Services has three main components: policy issuance, programs and services, and resource allocation. About 23 ARBOs are the IACAP pioneers wherein all are active RSS partners from the 3 milling districts of HPCo, VMC and LOPEZ. Prioritization was based on: willingness and commitment of ARBO to run IACAP program, capacity of ARBO to allocate resources, current CASH and PAGSIK partners, and reported incidence of CL among members and non-compliance to use of appropriate PPE.

The ARBOs’ IACAP programs and services are:

  • All 23 will join the June 2021 WDACL or World Day Against Child Labour celebration through poster making, slogan making contest, dress-up and parade of CRAs, or simply post IEC materials or tarpaulins in their communities;
  • 10 ARBOs will start a Vegetable Garden by Children, as a way to dissuade CL practice; The urban vegetable gardening concept and use of recyclable waste materials found in the sugar fields will be applied;
  • 20 ARBOs will monitor appropriate PPE use of their working members;
  • 18 ARBOs will sell PPE; and,
  • Some ARBOs will have unique programs for children such as putting up a Learning Center, sports activities, Vermicomposting, Clean-up drives, and incentives to families with no CL.

All ARBOs will pass policies supporting the IACAP Program implementation starting March-April 2021 and allocating funds for these.