Working children in crisis-hit Lebanon: Exploring the linkages between food insecurity and child labour

Published 26. Mar 2021
Joint paper from the Lebanon Protection Consortium (LPC) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

The report explores how the children are affected negatively by the food insecurity situation in their household, using data from assessments by ACF and IRC - 648 individuals of Lebanese and Syrian nationality were interviewed between July and September 2020, including working children. These findings were complemented by existing research findings from NRC, CAMEALEON and data from the LPC.

Overview of key findings:

  • An increased use of child labor as a negative coping mechanism due to the food insecurity and the deteriorating nutrition practices. The inability to provide food is one of the main triggers for parents to send their children to work and that the primary use of children’s income is for food.
  • Children are increasingly reporting becoming the main breadwinners for their families. However, even when they are working, the children and their families suffer acutely from food insecurity and resort to food-based coping mechanisms; 84% of the working children surveyed have been worried that their household would not have enough to eat; 56% of the working children surveyed reported going to bed hungry.
  • Food insecure working children are more likely to face short- and long-term consequences: 50% of the surveyed children had wounds. Children report suffering from tiredness (24% of the communities surveyed by LPC), body pain (19%), exposure to verbal and physical abuse (13%), and psychological distress (12%). The children are very likely to have some forms of micronutrient deficiencies and stunted growth. Their well-being and mental health is dramatically impacted. There is a concern over the possible increased risk of child marriage.
  • The recommendations focus on the need to mainstream efforts that address child labour into inter-sector priorities and programming, the urgent food security and basic assistance programmes for working children and their families, with a nutrition and a case management component; the need for longer term child labour and joint food security and nutrition programmes.

This paper was developed by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Lebanon Protection Consortium (LPC) - which includes Action Against Hunger (ACF), Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), and is funded by European Civil protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the ECHO.

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