DSWD’s SHIELD Project: Fighting Against Child Labor

Based on a 2011 study cited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), almost 5.5 million children aged 5 to 17 years old are working. Of these, almost 55% are working in hazardous working environments such as dangerous mines, factories, pyrotechnics, and on the streets.

These figures are part of the rationale behind a major project of the DSWD: Strategic Helpdesks for Information, Education, Livelihood, and Other Developmental Interventions (SHIELD) Against Child Labor. In this article, we will discuss about this project — its objectives, target beneficiaries, components, and pilot areas. We will also talk about the latest updates regarding SHIELD.

DSWD SHIELD Project Against Child Labor
Image Credits: DSWD CARAGA on Facebook, stb.dswd.gov.ph (SHIELD logo)

What is SHIELD?

SHIELD stands for “Strategic Helpdesks for Information, Education, Livelihood, and Other Developmental Interventions.” Basically, it is a model of intervention designed by the DSWD’s Social Technology Bureau (STB) to combat child labor.

The project was developed to comply with Republic Act No. 9231 or the “Anti-Child Labor Law.” It aims to contribute to the removal of one (1) million children from child labor by the year 2025, as stipulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the National Program Against Child Labor (NPACL).

Objectives of the Program

Generally, the SHIELD project seeks to help eliminate child labor, particularly its worst forms, and among those in the “blanket ban” (children below 15 years old).

Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Identify child laborers in the community and ensure evidence-based case management through an operational Child Labor Local Registry (CLLR) System;
  • Improve access of child laborers and their families to various services; and
  • Increase awareness and capacities of child laborers, their families, and duty-bearers in addressing child labor.

Target Beneficiaries

The target beneficiaries of the SHIELD project include:

  • Children who are engaged in the worst forms of child labor (e.g. deep-sea fishing, mining, pyrotechnics, etc.);
  • Families of child laborers;
  • Community members;
  • Local government units (LGUs) and local stakeholders; and
  • Employers including financiers, contractors, hacienderos, etc.

Components of the Program

The project consists of three main components: (a) Child Labor Local Registry; (b) Barangay Helpdesk on Child Labor; and (c) Organization, Advocacy, and Capability Building.

1. Child Labor Local Registry

This is a database system that identifies who and where the child laborers are. The data will be the basis for planning, monitoring, and prioritizing cases for the necessary interventions.

2. Barangay Helpdesk on Child Labor

As the name says, the helpdesk would enable child laborers and their families to easily access support services.

3. Organizing, Advocacy, and Capability Building

Organizing, advocacy, and capability building activities will be done among child laborers, their families, employers, LGUs, and other stakeholders. The purpose is to help raise awareness about the hazards of child labor, laws, case management, and other matters.

Pilot Areas

The pilot areas of the SHIELD project include the following areas:

  • Region IVA: Catanauan, Quezon
  • Region V: Labo, Jose Panganiban, and Paracale, Camarines Norte
  • Region VIII: Ormoc City and Kananga, Leyte
  • Region X: Maramag, Bukidnon

Pilot implementation was done in 15 barangays in seven cities / municipalities between 2017 and 2019. According to the Social Technology Bureau website, here are the results of the pilot testing:

  • Withdrawal of 477 children from child labor in the said areas;
  • Establishment of 15 community helpdesks in the barangays; and
  • Organization of seven (7) child laborer groups.

Notably, the child laborer groups organized are as follows:

  • Barangay Children Association of Sumangga – Ormoc, Leyte;
  • Children Against Child Laborers Organization;
  • Kabataang Kalasag ng Tawig (KKT);
  • Samahan ng Batang Malaya sa Dalas (SBMD);
  • Samahan ng Batang MALAYA Kontra Child Labor;
  • Samahan ng Mga Kabataan Kontra Child Labor (SKKCL); and
  • SHIELD Kids (SK).

Latest Updates

After pilot testing, the SHIELD project was institutionalized. Since 2021, the project has been implemented in 16 DSWD Field Offices across the country.

Meanwhile, in more recent news, a DSWD press release reported that the SHIELD program served more than 1,400 child laborers in 2022. These children were provided with services and interventions that were suitable to their needs.

Video: Message Against Child Labor

Last year, in June, the DSWD celebrated the 2023 World Day Against Child Labor. SHIELD National Focal Joseph Salavarria shared an inspiring message, as featured in the following video:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Meanwhile, here are some commonly asked questions about the SHIELD project:

1. What is SHIELD?

The “Strategic Helpdesks for Information, Education, Livelihood, and Other Developmental Interventions” (SHIELD) is an intervention model designed by the DSWD’s Social Technology Bureau (STB) to fight against child labor.

2. What are the project’s objectives?

The SHIELD project aims to identify child laborers in communities, improve their access to various support services, and increase the capacity of child laborers and their families, among others.

3. Who are the target beneficiaries?

The project’s target beneficiaries include: children in the worst forms of child labor; families of child laborers; community members; local government units (LGUs) and local stakeholders; and employers such as financiers, contractors, hacienderos, etc.

4. What are the project’s components?

The main components of the project are: (a) Child Labor Local Registry; (b) Barangay Helpdesk on Child Labor; and (c) Organization, Advocacy, and Capability Building.

5. How can I know more about the project?

You can learn more about the SHIELD project by getting in touch with the DSWD’s Social Technology Bureau (STB).

Contact Information: Social Technology Bureau

If you have any questions and concerns about child labor and the SHIELD project, you can contact the Social Technology Bureau (STB), which is located at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City.

Address: Social Technology Bureau, 3rd Floor, Matapat Building, Department of Social Welfare and Development – Central Office, IBP Road, Constitution Hills, Batasan Complex, Quezon City
Telephone: +632 8951 7124 / 8951 2802 / 8931 8144
Email: soctech@dswd.gov.ph
Website: https://stb.dswd.gov.ph/

Google Map:

NOTE: If you are based outside the National Capital Region (NCR), you can contact the Regional Social Technology Unit (STU) in your province or region. Here is the STU directory, for your reference.

Infographic About SHIELD

Meanwhile, check out this infographic about the project:

DSWD SHIELD Project Against Child Labor
Image Credit: stb.dswd.gov.ph

Final Thoughts

Although child labor remains a serious problem in our country, it’s good to know that the DSWD — through SHIELD — is actively fighting against this problem. In addition, other projects such as the department’s Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) are also a big help!