Save the Children and The Centre Join the Fair Cobalt Alliance to Strengthen Child Rights in the DRC’s Artisanal Cobalt Sector

Save the Children and The Centre for Child Rights and Business (The Centre) have today joined the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA).

Both Save the Children and The Centre are committed to improving the lives of children and will bring their expertise in child rights, business, and in particular children’s rights and child labour issues, to the FCA.

The FCA’s commitment to addressing child labour has been central to its mission from the outset, as first set out in the 2020 report, Digging for Change. Since then, the FCA has worked with local partners like the cooperative CMDS and civil society organisation Maison Kwetu, to establish controls and monitoring mechanisms to identify cases of child labour at artisanal mine sites, and prevent children from working within mines.

Save the Children, The Centre and the FCA began their collaboration earlier this year with the development of a much-needed child labour referral system. With such a referral system cases of child labour can be identified in collaboration with local authorities and cooperative members, and referred to accredited case managers, who will tailor an individual remediation plan for each of those children identified. Depending on the children’s needs and situation, this will include measures to reintegrate children into the school system or vocational training, cash transfers and family support (for example to support their parent’s enrolment in a savings group programme). One of the first local partners to be accredited as a case manager will be Maison Kwetu, whose team has decades of experience in taking care of street children and remediating cases of child labour. As part of its membership, Save the Children has already started working with Maison Kwetu to strengthen its capacity and has come onboard as a member of the FCA’s Steering Committee.

“Membership of the FCA comes at a crucial point in time for Save the Children. The detrimental impact of ASM cobalt mining on many children and their families, the consequences of the pandemic and the increased demand for cobalt as the world shifts towards green energy means joint action is urgently needed to ensure that children in ASM communities have access to their rights, are safe from child labour and grow up in families, that make a living from decent jobs,”

said Florian Westphal, CEO of Save the Children Germany.

“No one actor can solve child labour issues in ASM singlehandedly. With collaboration being at the heart of the FCA, we are looking forward to working with all FCA members and other stakeholders in implementing strong child labour prevention and remediation systems. We believe that the industry actors, from producers to buyers, all have both the responsibility and the opportunity to significantly improve the situation for children in ASM communities within the next few years, and we are looking forward to supporting this process with a strong child rights perspective,”

said Ines Kaempfer, CEO of The Centre for Child Rights and Business.

“We urgently need to find solutions through cross-sectoral action to improve the protection situation of children in the environment of mining communities. In this regard, the sustainable implementation of strategies that focus on the best interests of the children and provide children with consistent access to those rights that they have been denied because of child labour (e.g. protection, education, adequate work, etc.) are elementary,”

said Amavi Akpamagbo, Country Director of Save the Children in the DRC.

“Save the Children and The Centre for Child Rights and Business joining the FCA marks an important milestone for us. An action platform dedicated to promoting and enabling collaboration across the supply chain and between the private sector and NGOs, the FCA will benefit greatly from Save the Children’s and The Centre’s expertise and experience protecting children’s rights and addressing child labour holistically across geographies and commodities. Our organisations share a common vision and approach, centred around local ownership and participation, and we are excited to have Save the Children and The Centre on board, not only as members, but also as the latest addition to our Steering Committee,”

said Dr. Assheton Carter, Executive Director of the Fair Cobalt Alliance.