Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM)

Generational gaps and eliminating child labour in agriculture


To create an enabling environment in rural areas to effectively prevent child labour and hazardous work in the agriculture sector and promote relevant skill-building opportunities and safe work for children of working age; the expected impact is that child labour and barriers to preparing and accessing for decent employment are reduced for rural youth, boys and girls below 18.

Status of the subprogramme
On going

Major results


  • Collaboration ongoing with Uganda’s Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development on finalization of OSH tools and distribution plans within upcoming events and trainings. FAO is in regular contact with the International Labour Organization (ILO) regarding the latest National Action Plan on Child Labour and how FAO’s upcoming training and knowledge products can contribute towards the action plan.
  • Anticipated partners in Pakistan will be the Cotton Board, ILO, the Ministry of Agriculture, Save the Children and UNICEF; in Lebanon, partners include the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Social Affairs (Higher Council for Childhood), Ministry of Education, ILO, UNICEF and WFP.


  • No capacity development events took place in 2019; many trainings are being planned for the second or third quarter of 2020, targeting a wide range of beneficiaries in the targeted countries.


  • Uganda: Contributed to policy advice on the 14-17 age cohort within national policy efforts on rural younger employment and youth employment in agribusiness. A validation workshop conducted in December 2019 on FAO study that looked at legal barriers faced by those in the 14-17 age cohort on preparing and accessing decent employment opportunities in Uganda. A consultant was hired to finalize study and develop policy brief (currently being finalized).
  • Lebanon: Activities were held supporting national steering committee in combating Worst Forms of Child Labour and contributing to implementation of National Action Plan on Child Labour, piloted by the Ministry of Labour.
  • Pakistan: The process of identifying the most relevant Income Generating Activities for farmers in Pakistan to end the economic dependency from child labour started, with the study on gender aspects and the nexus with child labour.


  • Activities fostered increased resource mobilization in targeted countries. Uganda: FMM resources allowed for immediate mobilization of additional funding for study on child labour in livestock sector; findings will contribute to larger programme development in the country. Pakistan: Further resources mobilized to conduct study on nexus of gender aspects, women’s time burden and child labour.
  • Subprogramme allowed higher visibility as positive spill-over effect of preliminary country activities. Preparation work to elaborate dedicated module on safety in farm settings and child labour to be integrated in all Farmer Field Schools in Pakistan led to pilot session during the Director General’s visit to Punjab in early 2020.


  • Uganda: Focus on improving occupational safety and health among young agricultural workers led to greater collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Animal Industry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
  • Across FAO divisions and areas of work, the subprogramme has allowed collaboration with the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida)-funded project “Integrated Country Approach III” and the team working on rural finance, on the study “Agricultural finance and youth - Prospects for financial inclusion in Uganda”.


  • Gender considerations were mainstreamed throughout the project, translating into gender-sensitive analysis and capacity development and ensuring that actions contribute to reduction of gender inequalities in rural labour market.
  • The subprogramme investigates early determinations of gender inequality with first differentiation of tasks carried out by boys and girls. Research will also look to include a better understanding of domestic chores carried out by girls, as well as the educational attendance of both boys and girls in the region.


  • As a form of digital innovation, the subprogramme is supporting the finalization of the “serious game digital app” for youth on how to keep themselves safe at work in farm settings. Active research for a partner is ongoing for the app which will be available both on iOS and Android operating systems.
  • Visual support is being utilized to maximize the outreach and dissemination of complex messages to beneficiaries who usually do not have access to this knowledge. A visual tool developed in Uganda will be integrated into upcoming regional workshops and in regular community-level outreach programmes.


  • In Autumn 2019, shortly after the beginning of the project, widespread civil protests occurred in Lebanon that prevented the continuation of planning of related activities. All colleagues in the FAO office in Lebanon were confined at home, and all the projects were put on hold.
  • The main challenges linked to the implementation of this subprogramme were related to financial constraints. At the time of the formulation, six decentralized offices had been contacted with a two-phase approach in mind, and a total amount of USD 4.5 million. Given the limited resources, it was decided to reduce implementation to fewer countries, but to maintain three priority countries for which the non-inclusion in the FMM subprogramme would have caused more negative outcomes than the inclusion of a reduced number of activities. While the FMM allocation certainly allows the undertaking of crucial and significant activities that make a difference in the three-targeted countries, it does not allow for the recruitment of a part-time national consultant in each of the FAO decentralized. This translates into more remote coordination from the Social Policies and Rural Institutions Unit and therefore a slower pace of implementation. This also incurs some missed opportunities to participate to large-scale programmes in the country. Taking advantages of resource mobilization and up-scaling opportunities requires time and effort, and thus, the presence in country of, at least, a part-time dedicated consultant to these work areas.
  • In Pakistan, this is the first time the team is working on themes that touch upon social dimensions of agricultural sustainability, which can be perceived as potential threats to the image of the country. As previously explained, the activities in this country funded by this subprogramme are contributing to a large project led by the ILO on child labour in cotton, textile and garment. Cotton is a main export commodity and considered crucial to the Pakistan economy. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure the government ownership and to demonstrate that activities geared towards the elimination of child labour in cotton production can only benefit Pakistan on the long run. For this reason, additional effort has been needed to ensure government ownership and it was decided that a larger share of FMM resources would be invested into the activities in Pakistan.


In July 2019, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution declaring 2021 as the Internal Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. In the last FAO Council, the Organization presented its plans to hold a High-level International Conference on Child Labour in Agriculture to observe the International Year. The message received significant expressions of support from Members. The High-level Conference was also welcomed by the European Commission and ILO. The High-level Conference and attention it will receive means that child labour in agriculture will receive major visibility among the community of financial and technical partners. It also means that the small team focused on this working area will have an increased workload, and it will be challenging to continue with the same amount of resources to ensure the timely implementation of the FMM subprogramme activities (see above, challenges linked with financial constraints).

Nonetheless, the project task force will:

  • continue the timely implementation of the planned activities.
  • keep monitoring the quality of outputs and the monitoring of expenses.
  • actively look for additional resources to overcome the challenges linked with financial constraints.

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