Ghana scores high marks on child labour elimination in cocoa industry
Mr Antwi-Bosiako Sekyere, Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Welfare on Wednesday has said prudent policies and programme interventions championed by the government and its development partners have justified the removal of the country from a list of comity of states labelled as exploiting child labour in the cocoa sector for economic gains.
He said the United States Department of Labour’s Executive Organ 126 excused the country from such labelling in 2010.
Mr Sekyere indicated this at the national launch of the Ghana National Child Labour Monitoring System (GCLMS) under the National Programme for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Cocoa (NPECLC) at Likpe-Bakua in the Hohoe Municipality on Thursday.
The GCLMS is a pilot and holistic, timely, accurate, appropriate and sustainable intervention to obtain comprehensive information on all children in or at risk of child labour and its worst forms (WFCL) in cocoa growing areas.
He however said the country had been categorised among the comity of states still exploiting child labour in the fishing, mining and quarry industries.
Mr Sekyere called for a head-on tackling of the awful phenomenon and entreated stakeholders to redouble efforts at eradicating the scourge, who’s underlying factor is poverty.
He noted that government’s pro-poor interventions including the capitation grant, school feeding programme, free school uniforms and exercise books were targeted at cushioning and comforting households with extreme poor situations.
The Deputy Minister indicated GCLMS had been well-crafted to track children in their locality and urged parents/guardians, traditional authorities as well as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to embrace the initiative.
Mr Sekyere commended major partners including the United States Department of Labour, International Labour Organisation (ILO), USAID, International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) for their unflinching support.
Professor Richard Bani, National Programme Manager of GCLMS/NPECLC said his outfit would support the nation’s efforts to meet its obligations under the ILO Convention 138 and 182 through a four-pronged approach, namely GCLMS, monitoring and evaluation, remediation and communication.
He said tools to be deployed included community registers, child at risk tool, supported child tool, questionnaire and administered by data entry clerks and focal persons in Likpe Bakua, Agbozume, Kukurantumi, Bala and Akpafu-Odomi.
Prof Bani said 30 communities in the six cocoa growing regions would benefit from the successful implementation of the pilot scheme.