Review of International and National Policy and Programs in Relation to Domestic Child Labor in Nepal

By Kamala Shrestha, Charlie Thame, and William Aldis

Domestic Child Labor (DCL) is persistent and culturally acceptable in many Asian countries including Nepal. This paper argues that DCL be considered one of the worst forms of child labor (WFCL) due to the impact on mental and physical health of children. It focuses on DCL in Nepal and identifies relevant domestic laws, international conventions, national strategic plans, guidelines and programs currently addressing the DCL problem through institutional mechanisms, financial allocations and stakeholders. The study assesses whether legislation and interventions make any difference. An in - depth documentary review and key informant interviews with self - administered questionnaires were used with representatives working on child labor in Nepal. The study finds that international conventions and domestic laws do not clearly identify DCL as WFCL but that the national master plan and focused time - bound programs have explicitly mentioned DCL as WFCL and given it priority. However, the Government of Nepal (GoN) programs, guidelines and financial allocations are unclear and limited, and stakeholders rarely support programs specifically addressing DCL. Nevertheless, to some extent, legislation and interventions have made some achievements and changes regarding child labor. Despite this, specific interventions with sufficient resources and effective law enforcement through institutional mechanisms are needed to address domestic child labor problems nationwide.