Microsoft and Pact today announced an expanded partnership which will help fight child labor in the mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Under the partnership, Microsoft is making a three-year financial commitment, supporting Pact's Children Out of Mining project.
The expanded partnership comes as stats show more than over 10 million people rely on income from mining in the DRC. Although children under 18 cannot legally work in the mines, laws protecting them are not widely observed, causing children to end up in the mining workforce.
Microsoft will be providing direct support to children and adolescents and the local organizations that assist them as part of the extended partnership. Children can also expect to see an apprenticeship program, increased capacity in local orphanages as part of the partnership.
Other goals of the partnership include helping state child protection and welfare services and supporting home-based daycare for younger children of miners. Joan Krajewski, general manager of Safety, Compliance, and Sustainability at Microsoft remarked about the extended partnership.
“There is no place for child labor in the mining supply chain... By expanding and deepening Microsoft’s partnership with Pact, we can make meaningful progress toward addressing the worst forms of child labor. Already, we’ve seen the difference these programs can make, and hope that our investment will encourage others to join in these scalable, replicable efforts.”
This original partnership dates back to 2015 and uses interventions in communities and local institutions. According to Microsoft, in mines where the Children Out of Mining project has been put in place, child labor has been reduced between 77 percent and 97 percent. The partnership is also a part of Microsoft's ongoing approach to promote safe, ethical working conditions to the farthest reaches of its supply chains.
You can learn more about Pact's work by visiting this website.