Bringing together 62 representatives from different stakeholders, both at the national and local levels, Project Against Child Exploitation (ACE) in the Philippines and Vietnam conducted the Regional Information Sharing and Assessment on August 21 – 24, 2023 in Da Nang City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.
Since it started in 2019 in the Philippines, Project ACE has played an active role in improving the legal framework and policies of its partners, strengthening assistance services to child laborers and their families, and collaborated with different agencies within and outside the government structure. In 2021, Project ACE widened its efforts in eliminating the worst forms of child labor, including online sexual abuse and exploitation of children and violation of acceptable conditions of work by implementing the project in Vietnam. Through the years, both countries have been strengthening the capacity of their respective governments in addressing the worst forms of child labor (WFCL), including online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC), and violation of acceptable conditions of work (ACW).
To share the milestones achieved by each country, exchange learnings and good practices, identify strengths, gaps, challenges and opportunities to inform future programming, and identify focused activities or strategies to support sustainability of mechanisms in addressing WFCL, including OSAEC and violations of ACW, the two groups organized an event gathering over 80 participants from Vietnam and Philippine teams.
In his welcome speech, World Vision Vietnam National Director Doseba Sinay mentioned “the fruitful result and lessons learned in the Philippines have been valuable in the implementation of the same project in Vietnam, giving the team the confidence to move forward. For World Vision Vietnam, ensuring the welfare of the children has always been our commitment especially in protecting children from child labor and violence.
On the other hand, World Vision Development Foundation Inc. Philippines National Director Rommel V. Fuerte underscored that “over the years collaboration has strengthened our commitment to stop child labor and exploitation against children. Through the Project ACE, we intensity our communities to contribute in reducing cases of WFCL, including OSAEC, and violations of ACW. We salute everyone who is a part of this mission to protect our future generation and we express our solidarity with you in achieving hope, joy, and justice for all children,” in his message of solidarity.
On the first day of the event, partners from both countries presented their achievements, lessons learned, and challenges, per outcome of the project. Project ACE in the Philippines highlighted its most significant stories through a video documentary where its partners were given the opportunity to share their successes since the implementation of the project. Meanwhile, project partners in Vietnam presented through video materials and presentations highlighting the activities they have been conducting in their respective provinces. Both countries specifically highlighted how the project has improved their legal frameworks, policies, assistance services, and partnerships.
During the panel discussion, the Philippine delegates mentioned the importance of the whole of society approach which includes tapping not only the child laborers and their families but as well as other stakeholders such as the private sector, non-government agencies, institutions, and communities in eliminating child labor. The Vietnam delegates specifically highlighted that raising awareness through enhancing the communities’ communication skills and development of child labor monitoring tools in the community were some of the effective ways when it comes to responding child protection issues.
On the second day, project partners from the Philippines had a chance to visit two out of three project areas in Vietnam. Observing community collaborators gaining knowledge and skills for CL prevention for in Tam Ky were the highlights of the field visit. Mr. Ryan Robert De Los Reyes from the Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region highlighted that “our journey begins with the acceptance that there is child labor and we need to address it. The knowledge and wisdom that we gained from each other is truly valuable and priceless” he added.
The last day of the event was focused on project sustainability and transition planning facilitated by the South Asia Pacific Office (SAPO) Regional MEAL Advisor, Antonia Salamat, who highlighted the importance of identifying project lessons and good practices and developing sustainability and transition plan.
Ultimately, the momentous event has affirmed the strong commitment of both the governments of the Philippines and Vietnam in its fight against child labor, including OSAEC and ACW.
Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL 34007-19-75-K. 100 percent of the total costs of the project in the Philippines is financed with United States Department of Labor funds.
Pauline Giselle D. Navarro
Project ACE, Communications Officer
0906 455 7265