Multimedia Case - A Different Approach to Child Labor: Ecuador's Working Boys' Center

A Different Approach to Child Labor: Ecuador's Working Boys' Center


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  • Product Description

    The eradication of child labor worldwide has long been a goal of the United Nations, the International Labor Organization, and a host of NGOs, yet child labor has proven stubbornly resistant to reform efforts, even when cash and other incentives have been included in the mix. This 5-page multimedia case looks at a different--and controversial--approach taken by the Working Boys' Center in Quito, Ecuador. Founded in the mid-1960s, the Center challenges the notion that education and child labor are mutually exclusive, presenting a blended model that is now being advocated by some organizations in Latin America, India and elsewhere. Through video interviews with three children, their parents, the Center’s founders, a former working boy, a representative from the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child and a government minister in Ecuador, students are able to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Working Boys’ Center approach and to re-examine the key ideas at the heart of the child labor debate.

    Learning Objective: 
    This case allows students to explore the complexities of the issue of child labor by putting themselves in the shoes of the various stakeholders. Grounded in the real-life example shown in the videos, students closely examine the complex web of motivations that drive child labor, including economic necessity and cultural values. They also consider the role of conditional cash transfers in changing behaviors and discuss avenues for effective change in countries where the practice is deeply entrenched.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: March 28, 2016
    Teaching Plan: Available with Educator Access
    HKS Case Number: 2061.0
    Video Producer/Multimedia Developer: Patricia Garcia-Rios
    Faculty Lead: Jacqueline Bhabha
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 5
    Setting: Quito, Ecuador
    Language: English
    _year: 2016-2017
    _pages: 1-15
    _video: Yes
    _geography: Latin America
  • Warranty Information, /teachingplan/2061_2.pdf