U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, according to a recent press release, saw first-hand the work of the U.S. Department of Labor-funded ENTERATE project during her July 26 visit to the coffee plantation Los Potrerillos in Jinotega. This project works to combat child labor in Jinotega, Madriz and Managua.

During her visit, Secretary Solis had the opportunity to visit a school at the coffee plantation that was constructed by the plantation's owners to enable children to attend school instead of working in the fields alongside their parents. The children shared their experiences about participation in the ENTERATE project through dance, theater and song.

"Ending child labor is not something that can be accomplished through a single law. These are the types of initiatives that need to be recognized and expanded to work toward this goal," Secretary Solis said.

Secretary Solis also met with local coffee producers who are committed to eliminating child labor and providing education for children whose parents live or work on their plantations. Twenty coffee producers in the region signed an agreement on June 12 of this year, World Day Against Child Labor, affirming their commitments to combat child labor. In addition, they have agreed to share experiences with other producers to eliminate child labor in Nicaragua and are committed to ensuring that adults receive respectable salaries and work in decent conditions on their farms. These measures provide workers the means to provide for their families and reduce the need to send their children to work.

"We know that it is critical to increase the incomes of adults so that they do not have to send children to work," said Secretary Solis. "That is why it is significant that these coffee plantation owners are committed to decent wages and working conditions."

ENTERATE is a three-year $5 million project implemented by the American Institutes for Research, La Cuculmeca, INPRHU-Somoto and Club Infantil. More information about efforts to combat child labor is available from the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of International Affairs at http://www.dol.gov/ilab.