Ghana takes steps to curb child labour

The government said on Monday that it has put in place measures to curb the worst forms of child labour in the cocoa industry and that it is enforcing the Harkin-Engel Protocol.

The Protocol, marking its 10th anniversary, was championed by US Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Eliot Engel to stop misuse of children on cocoa farms in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

It is an international effort by the cocoa industry, the United States Department of Labour, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to stop children from engaging in hazardous work on cocoa farms.

An official statement from the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare to mark the 10th anniversary of the Protocol said the National Programme for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Cocoa is working with District and Municipal assemblies to implement the Protocol.

This is to ensure that when the national programme ends eventually, the District and Municipal assemblies would be in a position to continue with it to ensure that children are kept away from the cocoa farms.

The statement said under the Protocol, the participating countries, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, should commit resources to keep children in school by making available to them materials such as school uniforms, books and other incentive packages.

It said for those children, who are too old to go to school, the government should put them through apprenticeship programmes because “This is the only way children can be taken away from cocoa farms.”

The statement said the Protocol envisages that by 2020 child labour in cocoa communities should be reduced by 20 per cent by aggregate terms between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

It said Mr Harkin would visit Ghana soon to demonstrate his support for Ghana’s efforts at eliminating the worst forms of child labour on cocoa farms.

Source: GNA

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