Spotlight on Quidan Kaisahan, Philippines:
Parents’ Group Leverages Microfinance Support to Reduce Child Labor

“I was forced to allow my son Gideon to gather charcoal because my husband’s income as a casual employee of the city government is just not enough to feed all our 7 children”, explained Vilma Caso, the mother of one of the child laborers of Barangay Canturay, Philippines.

May 2007. Part of CIRCLE partner Quidan Kaisahan’s work in the Philippines is to encourage Alternative Learning System Parents’ Associations (ALSPA), groups formed by parents to advocate against child labor in their community. Quidan Kaisahan has ten associations; members visit other parents to try to convince them to find means to provide education for their children. They also participate actively in the communities’ advocacy work to promote education for child laborers and help children withdraw from harmful work.
Vilma attending to her swine raising project
During their work, the ALS Parents’ Association noticed the need for parents like Vilma to generate additional income to defray their children’s educational expenses and reduce the pressure to engage them in child labor.

QK and the Parents’ Association contacted Pag-inupdanay, Inc., a local non-governmental organization providing micro-finance services. They negotiated on behalf of the parents in the community to make affordable credit accessible for their members proposed livelihood projects.

Through their advocacy, the credit organization modified their criteria, making it more responsive to the parents’ circumstances. Savings was reduced to Php 10 ($.21) a week and the minimum amount for a loan reduced to Php 500 ($11). Parent borrowers have an option to repay their loan either daily or weekly, with up to 50% of the loan repayable upon harvest or livestock maturity.

Although interest remains at 2.5% monthly, there will be a 1.5% rebate upon full repayment of the loan. Insurance for borrowers will be available at half cost and the current access to a government health insurance will be optional. As a condition for these concessions, Paginup-danay, Inc. required the parents’ support in enabling their children to regularly attend and complete their alternative learning modular program.

Vilma, received of Php 2,000 ($43) to start her swine-fattening project. She remarked, “the additional income that I can generate from this project will hopefully enable us to meet my family’s needs so that Gideon can leave his work and concentrate on his studies.”