Summary Notes on Interviewing:
The Effects of Work on Children
(Taken from Design, Management and Evaluation of Action Programmes on Child Labour published by the International Labour Office, 1994)
What information shall we gather on the effects of work on children?
How can this difficult task be appropriate?
What should a comprehensive investigation on the impact of work on child development include?
Please specify some of the main sub-elements which form a part of children's
development and about which we have to gather information.
We should gather information not only on the immediate health of working children and their safety, but also on their long-term physical, intellectual, emotional, social and moral development.
The task of gathering information can be difficult but much can be learned about the children's health by, for example, measuring their height, weight, and comparing these with norms for their age.
A comprehensive investigation on the impact of work on child development should include information on: physical development, intellectual development, socialization, emotional development, and moral development.
Each of the elements of children's development is composed of various sub-elements on the basis of which the investigation on the impact of work on child development will be introduced. The sub-elements are: rates of growth and development, nutrition, diseases, linguistic and literacy skills, basic knowledge and understanding, degree and nature of personal interaction, adaptation to physical and social environment, feelings of self-esteem, values, beliefs, moral code.
What information can we gather on the impact of child labour on the economic situation of the children and their families?
What information on the impact of children's circumstances affecting their family life can be gathered?
What information should be gathered on the activities the children are involved in?
What aspects of the community in which children live should be considered?
Why is it important to explore the children's feelings about their situation?
Information should be gathered on the basis of the following elements: family structure, family support systems, relations within the family, physical conditions within the home.
Information related to the financial situation are the following: income, capital and expenditure, survival strategies (such as: division of labour within the family, economic roles of children, etc.)
The main information should be related to the work that children do such as: the history of the work, the amount and form of payment, responsibilities, who benefits from wages, education, frequency of attendance at school, feelings about school.
There are various aspects of the community in which children live that should be considered. These are: services and resources, communal organization, communications and the local economy.
Very often adults have assumed that working children are distressed about their lives and circumstances. Sometimes the very opposite is true; in some cases children escape oppression and abuse and choose a life of independence through work. By offering children a chance to express their feelings on such issues, it may be possible to learn why there are in their present situation, what their hopes are and what they expect from the future.
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