Two projects, ECOWAS II and Public Private Partnership (PPP), were on Monday launched in Accra aimed at eliminating worst forms of child labour in Ghana with emphasis on community development and livelihood empowerment.
ECOWAS II project seeks to enhance the livelihood and promote economic support for vulnerable families whiles the PPP aims at combating child labour in cocoa growing communities in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
In a speech read on his behalf at the launch Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Minister of Employment and Social Welfare), expressed dissatisfaction that though the latest data from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) showed progress made towards eliminating child labour, the rate of decline was low.
The 2004-2008 ILO’s report puts the rate of decline in child labour at three per cent.
Mr Mensah said “In Sub-Saharan Africa, both absolute and proportional figures testify to a worsening scenario,” adding that one out of every four children between ages 15 to 17 engaged in hazardous work.
However, he said he was hopeful that Ghana was making efforts towards the fight against child labour.
Mr Mensah said Ghana had put in place some programmes including a national programme to eliminate worst forms of child labour, especially, in cocoa growing communities.
“The country has also designed and operationalised the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring System as a key mechanism in the mix of tools against child labour,” he added.
Mr Mensah said he was confident that the newly launched projects would inject “fresh impetus to the national effort to consign child labour in the cocoa industry to history.”
Mr Simon Steyne, Chief of Operations, at the ILO, Geneva, Switzerland, identified funding as critical to the success of the projects.
He said funds were needed for child labour monitoring programmes in communities that were badly hit by the menace.
“Funds are also needed for supporting national steering committees and to support the communities,” he said.
Mr Steyne underscored the importance of collaborative work between institutions, government and other stakeholders to the success of the project.
Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), recommended that policies needed to be intervened to eliminate# poverty which he described as the root cause of child labour.
The projects are under the collaboration of ILO and MESW.