As part of the CIRCLE program, Winrock is implementing the CLASSE (Child Labor Alternatives through Sustainable Systems in Education) project, an innovative pilot initiative designed to prevent child labor through non-formal education for children and to increase community awareness in both Mali and Côte d'Ivoire. With DOL funding, the project implemented certain activities in Fachoribougou, Mali: many children from this community migrate across the border to work on farms in Côte d'Ivoire. Not only are these children vulnerable and at-risk for trafficking or other exploitation, but they do not attend school regularly and often have not received even basic primary education, let alone real skills to prepare them for life and adult work.
In order to provide relevant training at home in Mali, reducing youths' need to migrate for work, Winrock designed vocational training curricula together with a local partner, Association d'Appui à l'auto Développement Communautaire (AADec). The four CLASSE modules they created address areas identified by the community and the youth in participatory discussions: gardening, mechanics, carpentry, and tie-dying. Winrock trained local facilitators from nearby Sikasso to deliver the courses, so that the knowledge is held locally and can be transferred to more youth beyond the life of the project. As a result, the people of Fachoribougou are now in possession of skills training modules fit for their needs, and they are thinking of more ways to prevent child labor and work migration. The vocational training takes place in the village, so that children do not have to leave. Twenty-one selected children had the chance to travel to Sikasso, the main town, to work as apprentices for a 3-month period. Back in the village, they have been given tools and material to start their own activities. To date, 10 groups have been set up. A group of carpenters has even taken orders for making a bed and school benches: as a result, they already have a balance of about $49.00.