Our Theory of Change aims to address the weaknesses in the current programming on child labour, including little evidence on the underlying drivers of child labour, a lack of perspectives from the children and other stakeholders themselves, and little bottom-up innovation.

Theory of change preview
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Worldwide, UNICEF estimates 79 million child labourers  are working in conditions that directly endangers their well-being. ​

CLARISSA generates innovative solutions for children to avoid hazardous, exploitative labour in Bangladesh’s leather industry and the adult entertainment sector in Nepal. Our approach to evidence and innovation generation is participatory, adaptive, and child-centred.

This is our Theory of Change. Click start for an overview of the animation showing how we create impact. Then dive deeper into the programme by clicking through the interactive tool.

Children's Action Research Groups
Needs-based organising groups
Business Owners Action Research Groups
Children's Advocacy Groups
Needs-based organising groups
Children's Advocacy Groups
Business Owners Action Research Groups
Children's Action Research Groups
Leather Business Associations
Students and teachers
Members of Parliament

Children’s Advocacy Groups

A Children’s Advocacy Group in NEPAL

Doing their own advocacy helps children develop the skills and confidence to talk about their situation. Policy-makers are more likely to listen to them, and the proposed solutions are more likely to reflect children’s realities.

In the advocacy group in Kathmandu, around fifteen children meet every few weeks. Some of the children work as domestic labourers, others in the adult entertainment industry. They share their own stories with each other, generating evidence for action from their lived experiences.

As an advocacy-focused group, they engage with the advocacy plans from the other children’s groups, planning and implementing various advocacy actions.

These advocacy actions have ranged from campaigning through their own art, to meeting parent and teacher stakeholder groups. The children have met with local government officials to demand action on child labour, and have spoken at events like National Children’s Day to share their experiences.


What is the action? - CLARISSA

Children’s expressions of lived experience through Participatory Action Research tools.

Image by Elizabeth Hacker, Independent consultant.

Needs-Based Organising Groups

A Needs-Based Organising Group in BANGLADESH

This group of children working in Bangladesh’s leather industry used the evidence from a needs-based assessment to decide the focus of their activities. Saying they felt ashamed about the cleanliness of their community spaces when outsiders visited, they decided to work on a clean community environment.

Meeting several times a month, the group of fourteen teenage boys and girls have run an action community cleaning campaign, distributing handmade posters and dustbins, organising a community cleaning initiative of 200 houses, as well as cleaning homes, schools, and house rooftops. Along the way, and with the help of life skills sessions run by community mobilisers, they have picked up leadership and organisational skills, enhancing their sense of agency.

The children also used their creativity to perform a “Theatre for Development” show in front of 200 community members to raise awareness about a clean environment, and painted bright slogans on some of the walls. This child-run group has succeeded in integrating a significant number of adult stakeholders into their activities, laying the groundwork for future actions.


What is the action? - CLARISSA

One of the members of the group paints messages on a wall, advocating for a cleaner environment as part of a community awareness campaign.

Image by Sharmin Shamim Kashfi, Community Mobiliser, CLARISSA Bangladesh

Business Owners Action Research Groups

A Business Owners Action Research Group in NEPAL

Many children work in unregulated and informal ‘cabin restaurants’ (with small private rooms), massage parlours and dance bars on the outskirts of Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu. Rather than stigmatising the venue owners, CLARISSA works directly with them through groups like this one.

This group of eight restaurant and dance bar owners chose to work on improving their documentation of the young workers they employ. They began by collecting evidence in their neighbourhoods on the practices used by other business owners to verify the age of their employees.

Reaching out to other stakeholders, including the local Night Entertainment Business Association, they worked to monitor what documentation other business owners collect to verify the age of their employees and avoid employing minors.

Other actions included helping new businesses to register with the local authorities and developing codes of conduct.


What is the action? - CLARISSA

A street within one of the Kathmandu‘s Entertainment hub.

Image by Elizabeth Hacker, Independent consultant.

Children’s Action Research Groups

A Children’s Action Research Group in BANGLADESH

Children working in the leather industry in Dhaka decided to focus on the issue of financial management within families because of the high levels of indebtedness that sometimes forces children into labour.

The children collected evidence in the community on job loss, dowry debts, inability to work due to illness, and a lack of financial support from fathers. They saw these issues as key factors in having to leave their school and contribute to their family’s income.

Meeting twice a month, the group of nine children developed an action plan to support community member stakeholders to generate alternative income, reduce their spending and adopt a savings mindset. The project then supported trainings in financial management for the community stakeholders identified by the children.

Changes were also felt by the children themselves, as two managed to persuade their parents to continue paying for their schooling, while another started his own newspaper distribution business.


What is the action? - CLARISSA

Facilitator and children in Bangladesh work together to finalise the themes before developing the theory of change.

Image by Nusrat Sharmin

2. Leather Business Associations in Bangladesh

Bangladesh Tanners Association

Small and informal businesses grouped into one of CLARISSA’s business owners groups in Bangladesh have been in contact with larger formal leather sector associations. Engaging with, for example, the Bangladesh Tanners Association, is helping the small businesses that employ child labour to formalise their operations by gaining access to some of the same business opportunities and supply chains as the formal sector.


3. Students and teachers in Nepal

200 secondary school students and their teachers

Children involved in the adult entertainment sector from one of the Action Research Groups gave talks at two local schools about their pathways into the sector and their experiences. Speaking about how their work in adult entertainment had affected them, they stressed to the students how important it is to get a good education and find work in other sectors. The children have set up a long-term engagement with these schools.


1. British Members of Parliament

All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Inquiry into Child Labour, UK

The Children’s Advocacy Group in Nepal engaged in a UK parliamentary inquiry into worldwide child labour in 2022. The children decided to contribute to the inquiry by providing a pre-recorded drama exploring their home and working lives, and answered questions from members of parliament live on the day of the inquiry. The children’s testimony informed the inquiry’s final report with recommendations to the UK government.