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Cablegate: Ambassador Launches Child Labor Project and Visits

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS QUITO 000599

SIPDIS

State, pass to Peace Corps.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB PHUM EC
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR LAUNCHES CHILD LABOR PROJECT AND VISITS
PEACE CORPS


1. Summary: On March 11, the Ambassador went to Cayambe, a
flower-producing area north of Quito, to attend the inauguration
of a U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored project to combat child
labor in the banana and flower industries through an improved
quality of education. The Ambassador then paid a welcome visit
to the newest class of Peace Corps Trainees in Ayora. End
Summary.

Ambassador Launches SOY! (Support Our Youth!) Education
Initiative
--------------------------------------------- --------------------
-

2. The Ambassador went to the flower-producing town of Cayambe
in Pichincha Province on March 11 to inaugurate a U.S. Department
of Labor (USDOL)-sponsored project to combat child labor through
education. USDOL has provided a $3 million dollar grant, to be
used over the next four years, to Catholic Relief Services (CRS),
the project's executing agency. The project targets up to 17,000
people including children employed in the banana and flower
industries, their parents and teachers in the provinces of Los
Rios, Guayas, El Oro, Pichincha and Cotopaxi.

3. With estimates of nearly one-quarter of all children in
Ecuador engaged in some form of child labor, many children do not
receive the education that would otherwise allow them to succeed
as adults. This has detrimental effects on entire communities
and hinders Ecuador's economic growth. Thus, the project intends
to promote community awareness, education initiatives to keep
children in school, and ensure the successful transition of
children to the secondary grades.

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4. The Ambassador reiterated American support for the project
and its goals, stressing continued U.S. assistance provided along
many fronts, including Peace Corps volunteers, SOUTHCOM mobile
medical brigades, and student exchanges. Other speakers present
included the Minister of Labor, the Mayor of Cayambe, the CRS
Country Representative, a flower industry representative and
children from the affected communities. The television and print
media were present in force, and the Ambassador gave a short
press conference afterwards. Coverage was highly visible and
favorable, thereby effectively promoting one of the project goals
of raising community awareness of child labor in Ecuador.

Ambassador Welcomes Peace Corps Trainees
----------------------------------------

5. The Ambassador then went to visit the newest class of Peace
Corps Trainees (PCTs) at the Peace Corps' Community Based
Training (CBT) site in Ayora. The 38 trainees are currently
enrolled in an 11-week language and technical training program.
The Ambassador, as she has done on prior occasions, demonstrated
mission support for the important work volunteers are engaged
with in the field emphasizing that their "people-to-people"
diplomacy paid off in spades.

Comment
-------

6. Combating child labor through education in affected
communities is cost-effective and productive. Child labor
provides only short-term, modest income. An educated child,
however, helps guarantee the long-term success of the family, the
community and the country's greater economic prospects. Peace
Corps Volunteers are an excellent source, as well, to help
promote the message of the importance of continuing education.
This demonstrates one way in which Peace Corps training,
activities and work can be integrated into the larger goals of
the U.S. mission.
KENNEY

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