INTERNATIONAL COCOA INITIATIVE CALLS FOR ELIMINATION OF CHILD LABOR

Ms Patience Dapaah, National Coordinator of the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), a charitable foundation, has advocated a holistic approach to the elimination of child labour rather than concentrating on specific farms.

She said there should be measures such as government action and national capacity building, community and household empowerment, improvement in the cocoa supply chain, integration and coordination of approaches and designing, monitoring and evaluation of interventions.

Ms Dapaah made the call at the end of a two-day ICI partner’s workshop to share ideas on a three separate studies commissioned to address the challenges of eliminating child labour from the cocoa sector in Ghana in Accra on Wednesday.

The three studies were titled: “Daily life, social norms and child labour in cocoa producing communities,” “Study of migrant flows and child mobility to the Cocoa producing communities in Ghana,” and “Emerging good practice in combating the worst forms of child labour in West African Cocoa growing communities.”

She said the State needs to allocate adequate budget for child development and create a national and district child and social protection systems for national development.

Ms Dapaah called on the media to partner stakeholders in the elimination of child labour since they reach a wider audience.

She commended government for putting interventions and structures in place like the National Plan of Action for the elimination of the menace for national development.

Mr Guy Massart, a researcher, said children migrating from their communities to the urban areas were largely to make money, to be assured of daily food and to become independent of their parents.

He said migration of children was a coping strategy, which should not be confused with trafficking, which was criminal.

Mr Massart called on government to provide better social protection systems for the affected families and children, adding that “schools needs to be more beneficial and profitable to children, it should go beyond helping to read and write”.

Mrs Martina Odonkor, a consultant, said the study on Daily life, social norms and child labour in cocoa producing communities was to assess the general situation in terms of socio-cultural norms in cocoa growing communities.

“To establish a set of adhoc recommendations based on the materials collected in the field and analysis,” she noted.

She explained that these recommendations would allow for a strategy to be developed that would take into account the improved and contextualised model for intervention in the communities.

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