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Protecting Child Domestic Workers. Endline Study of Books Can Open Closed Doors by Save the Children

In Rwanda, child domestic workers (CDWs) forgo educational opportunities in place of both permissible and non-permissible domestic work.

The Books Can Open Closed Doors Pilot Project implemented by Save the Children in partnership with Children’s Voice Today (CVT) aimed to improve the protection of children involved in child domestic work through improved access to support services, improved employer and community attitudes and behavior, and improved advocacy for the rights of CDWs at the national level.

Scope of Work

This evaluation informed an on-going learning exercise within Save the Children Rwanda on the relevance of case management and intervention methodologies developed in CDW projects in Asia to a Rwandan context. The evaluation further informed the development of future primary research instruments for the monitoring and evaluation of the project if it is scaled up.

The Endline Evaluation aimed to determine and report benchmark measures against project logframe indicators and provide recommendations for project implementation beyond the pilot district.


The evaluation reported benchmark and indicator measures based on a survey of CDWs and employers targeted by the project. The data follows a cohort approach and was gathered at the start (May, 2015) and at the conclusion of the project (November, 2015).


  • The amount of time a child spent working per day decreased between Baseline and Endline. At baseline, the average CDW worked 16 hours a day. By endline, the numbers of hours decreased to 12, demonstrating an average reduction of 4 hours of the work per day for CDWs targeted by the project.

  • 71% of employers and community members demonstrated a changed positive attitude towards CDWs by Endline.

  • 80% of CDWs reported a noticeable improvement in employer relations since the project started.

  • At baseline 58% of CDWs carried heavy loads at work. By the endline, only 26% of CDWs reported to have carried heavy loads. Similar to heavy loads, more CDWs handled dangerous items such as knives, axes, hot pans or toxic chemicals at baseline (73%) than at endline (33%).


Overall the project performed well against its logframe indicators. Twenty-one percent (21%) of project beneficiaries noticeably improved their working conditions. On average, CDWs decreased the number of hours they work per day by 4 hours. Independent samples t-tests reveal that differences in hours worked per day were statistically significant indicating the magnitude of the change between baseline and endline.

The project was able to successfully refer 48% of CDWs to support services through family reintegration and vocational training. However, additional data on support services utilized including number of CDWs who return to school and number of CDWs referred to services to support with employer disputes, need to be tracked in future monitoring of the project.

The project successfully improved the attitudes and behaviors of 71% of employers towards CDWs. However the endline study highlighted a number of barriers inhibiting achievements. 17.9% of respondents feel there had been no change in the way they have been treated, while 2.6% of respondents feel their relationship with their employee had deteriorated since Baseline. Furthermore, by Endline only 1 CDW had a written contract with their employer despite this being a targeted right by the project.

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