dormakaba Pledges Long-term Support for the Child Labour Prevention and Remediation Hub in the DRC


dormakaba, a leading global provider of smart and secure access solutions from Switzerland, has committed to supporting The Hub for Child Labour Prevention and Remediation (‘The Hub’), in partnership with Save the Children Switzerland and The Centre.  This partnership highlights dormakaba’s recognition of its responsibility to artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) communities – especially children – in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It also underscores its commitment to creating positive, long-term change that will directly benefit local children and keep them away from child labour and dangerous working conditions.


As part of this collaboration, dormakaba has pledged long-term financial support spanning ten years. The company's contribution will bolster The Hub's child-centric remediation programme, which reintegrates children in child labour situations into school or training programmes and steers them away from child labour indefinitely. In 2024, dormakaba will integrate 20 children and vulnerable youth from ASM communities into the programme. 


70% of the world’s cobalt supply comes from the DRC, and not surprisingly, mining is the main source of employment for communities living in and around key mining centres. Kolwezi, where The Hub operates, is one such mining centre. Home to more than half a million people, Kolwezi hosts many of the country's formal large-scale mines and a very active ASM sector that is a lifeline to approximately 200,000 people and accounts for 10-30% of the global cobalt supply. 


However, with extreme poverty being a living reality for most, many children end up either dropping out to work in ASM or engaging in ASM activities on the side to pay for school and supplement household incomes. Child labour in ASM is a pressing issue, subjecting children to extreme dangers, long-term health risks, exploitation and a cycle of perpetual poverty. 

 

By providing direct, long-term support to this child labour remediation programme, dormakaba is playing a key role in giving children and youth alternative options beyond ASM. Customised to the needs and situation of each child, The Hub’s remediation programme typically includes a monthly living stipend, all costs associated with school or vocational training programmes, and potential medical expenses until the child turns 16. In the programme, every child is matched with a dedicated case manager whose primary responsibility is to provide comprehensive support to the child and their family, ensuring that the child's best interests and perspectives remain central throughout the programme.


dormakaba’s investment will also provide institutional support to The Hub structure, which currently consists of seven local civil society organisations. Its investment will support the development and training of a network of case managers who manage individual cases of child labour and are the key focal point for children in the programme.


"We are thrilled to partner with Save the Children Switzerland and work with The Centre for Child Rights and Business. The partnership reflects our commitment to tackling potential child labour in even the most remote parts of our supply chain. It underlines our commitment to adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and emphasizes the importance of transparent and responsible supply chains," says Stephanie Ossenbach, Group Sustainability Officer of dormakaba.


“We are greatly encouraged by dormakaba’s contribution to the Hub for Child Labour Prevention and Remediation, as it is rooted in a strong sense of shared responsibility. While dormakaba cannot confirm whether the cobalt in their products originates from Kolwezi's artisanal and small-scale mines (ASM), they also acknowledge that they cannot be certain it doesn't. Understanding and recognising the hardships faced by children involved in ASM cobalt mining, dormakaba wants to be part of the solution and, therefore, decided to invest in this programme that provides practical support on the ground,” said Ines Kaempfer, CEO of The Centre for Child Rights and Business

 

“The Hub presents an opportunity for global cobalt buyers to make a meaningful investment in the future of Kolwezi's children and youth. Like their parents, this generation has few viable prospects beyond informal mining. We are grateful that dormakaba has taken a step towards driving positive change,” added Ines Kaempfer. 


Read dormakaba’s full press release here.


 

About The Hub for Child Labour Prevention and Remediation 


The Hub for Child Labour Prevention and Remediation (known in short as “The Hub”) was set up by The Centre for Child Rights and Business in 2022 with support from Save the Children Germany and the Fair Cobalt Alliance. It is set up as an association with seven local CSOs to build a strong local network of child rights practitioners in the Kolwezi area. It breaks the cycle of child labour by supporting the return of children to education, overseeing their development, and providing financial assistance until the child reaches working age. The Hub gives children and families a path towards a brighter future and ensures they do not return to the mines to work. www.crlhub.org


Please visit www.clrhub.org for more information about The Hub for Child Labour Prevention and Remediation. 


Published on   28/06/2024
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