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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Ian Goldsmith, Ed Featherston, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

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New program to increase community resilience, combat child labor in Morocco

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A $5-million program will prevent and reduce child labor and help youth of legal working age secure decent employment in Morocco, Creative Associates International announced. (CreativeAssociatesInternational.com)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131009/PH95053LOGO)

"Providing safe and productive work alternatives is key to a promising future for children and a more stable society," says Charito Kruvant, President and CEO of Creative. "Our expertise with education and community partnerships in Morocco and elsewhere will be leveraged to benefit the country's most vulnerable children."

Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs, the four-year program aims to reduce child labor in the region of Marrakesh-Tensift-Al-Haouz by working with communities - particularly youth - and the government to promote quality educational and learning opportunities for residents younger than age 15. It will also provide safe and productive employment alternatives for youth of legal working age, which is 15 and older.

In Marrakesh-Tensift-Al Haouz, dropout rates for primary and secondary school are among the highest in the country. Unfortunately, children are routinely used as agricultural and domestic laborers, and in some cases as sex workers.

Up to 14 percent of the region's 100,000 poor and vulnerable children are already working or are at great risk of becoming child laborers.

Sean Carroll, Senior Director of the division that will implement the project, says: "We are excited to work with the U.S. and Moroccan governments, the private sector and civil society to ensure youth in the Marrakesh-Tensift-Al Haouz region have quality education and meaningful work opportunities."

Though Morocco has had significant success in addressing child labor - the number of working children dropped from 518,000 in 1999 to 92,000 in 2012 - problems continue.

Child labor laws are often ignored by business owners and current regulations do not give inspectors full access to many of the places children are most often employed. Domestic work regulations are not often enforced, while in rural areas children remain a staple of the farm labor force.

Creative's multifaceted response
Building on more than 10 years' experience with education in Morocco, Creative will work jointly with youth, parents, schools, communities and the government to increase school attendance and mitigate early drop out. (www.CreativeAssociatesInternational.com

Young adults will receive vocational training and referral assistance that links jobseekers with a network of service providers, while youth entrepreneurs will build their skills through classes and coaching.

Simultaneously, the program will promote household resilience by promoting families' access to social services, micro-lending and saving programs and other activities.

Civil society organizations will receive training to generate awareness of the services available to youth and their families and risks and forms of child labor, while becoming advocates for changes to national child labor laws.

Creative's strategy relies on a strong network of local and international partners.

Three Moroccan organizations - Association Bayti, Association Al Karam and Association Institute Nationale de Solidarite avec les Femmes en Detresse (INSAF) - and three international organizations - Aid to Artisans, International Initiative to End Child Labor and Kuder - are part of the project.

Creative will also leverage existing relationships formed while implementing the Improving Training for Quality Advancement in National Education program, which improves teachers' pedagogical practice, prevents middle school dropouts and develops innovative and practical teacher training materials. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

About Creative
Creative Associates International works with underserved communities by sharing expertise and experience in education, economic growth, governance and transitions from conflict to peace. Creative is the second-largest company owned by women that works with the U.S. government.

Based in Washington, D.C., Creative currently has projects in more than 15 countries. Since 1977, it has worked in 85 countries and on nearly every continent. Recognized for its ability to work rapidly, flexibly and effectively in conflictive environments, Creative is committed to generating long-term sustainable solutions to complex development problems.

For additional information, please visit: www.CreativeAssociatesInternational.com.

SOURCE Creative Associates International

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