Suhum (E/R), July 27, GNA – The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is currently supporting the Ghana Government in its efforts to eliminate child labour through a new project dubbed “The Cocoa Community Project” (CCP).
The Project titled “Towards Child Labour-Free Cocoa Growing Communities in Cote D’lvoire and Ghana through an integrated area based approach”, was expected to benefit about 3,500 children and improve access to both formal and non-formal education as well as vocational training.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day district level consultative workshop for cocoa growing communities at Suhum in the Suhum Kraboa Coaltar in district of the Eastern Region, Mrs Stella Ofori, Principal Labour Officer in the Labour Department of the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, said the district was selected due to the high child labour cases in the area which is also known for high cocoa production.
She said government had established the National Plan of Action (NPA) aimed at promoting a more coordinated effort towards the elimination of Worst Forms of Child labour (WFCL) by 2015.
“The NPA will provide an integrated framework for harmonizing all relevant actions by different partners in order to tackle the problem in a well coordinated and sustained manner,” she added.
She said the NPA strategies to achieve the 2015 goal included enforcement of the law, broad-based sensitization and social mobilisation, protection of children‘s rights, promotion of their welfare, the pursuit of universal basic education and the improvement of post–basic education.
Other strategic areas are the withdrawal of children below 18 years from the WFCL and protection of working children aged above 15 years from exploitation and hazardous work, and the development of institutional capacity at all levels to ensure the effective application of established procedure and protocols, among other issues.
She noted that the new ILO project would establish an inventory of available social interventions and other complimentary services to which interventions may be linked.
Mrs Ofori said the CCP had five components that would contribute to the NPA through awareness–raising and development of community action plan, access to relevant education, improved and diversified livelihoods, child labour monitoring systems and capacity building in the communities.
The Principal labour officer said the strategic areas of intervention were livelihood empowerment of families and the communities, improving labour technology and labour market information systems, institutional and technical capacity building and the enhancement of knowledge and data base on child labour.
Mrs Lalaina Razafindrakoto, Resource Person from ILO, said the project would benefit 3,050 children below the legal minimum age for employment and 450 children above the legal minimum age for employment while 1,000 households would benefits from employment opportunities, income generation and social protection services.
She said the focus would be on 10 communities per district, 250 households or families per district, 87 children per community, 25 households or families per community and between three and four children per household.
She stressed the importance of mainstreaming Child labour in the Cocoa agenda in all partnerships and expressed the hope that a detailed and sustainable plan would be developed for the district.
Mr Samuel Fleischer-Kwabi, District Chief Executive of Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar pledged the District Assembly’s support towards the elimination of child labour.
The ILO has embarked on similar workshops in Akyem Swedru in the Birim South District of the Eastern Region and is to replicate it in Twifo Hermang Lower Denkyira in the Central Region and Wassa Amenfi West in the Western Region.