On the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour, the Cocoa Life Programme in Ghana has called for a holistic approach towards eliminating all worst forms of child labour in the country by 2025.
Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, Head, Cocoa Life Programme in Ghana, speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra said to address the issue of child labour, it must be tackled from a development angle, the protection and promotion of child rights with a community approach, instead of the supply chain approach.
She said the supply chain approach could resolve child labour in one sector of the economy, but the children might find themselves engaged again in child labour in another sector of the economy.
“But then if you really want to address the issue of child labour, it should be a community approach, because if you address it within the cocoa supply chain; it means that the children can be found in the mines, they will be withdrawn and be found in the river bodies and in the quarries.”
She said the Cocoa Life Programme’s agenda for addressing the issue of child labour was the community approach.
“We promote a holistic approach and we are working currently in 450 communities, where we have a child register in every community and we have what we called the child protection committees as well in every community. And the data that is captured, we consolidate the data at the district level so that we are able to feed the information into the national system.”
Cocoa Life is a sustainability programme of Mondelez International which assists cocoa growing communities to strengthen their capacities to determine and achieve their own long-term goals geared towards driving their own economic development and prosperity.
Cocoa Life is in the cocoa growing regions of the Central, Eastern, Ashanti, Western, Western-North and Ahafo.
Mrs Amekudzi said in Ghana, a lot of efforts were made in terms of addressing child labour from the root causes as well as from the top.
She said the good news was that in Ghana, all stakeholders such as the private sector for profit, the private sector not for profit and the government had come together to address child labour.
She called for the consolidation of efforts to ensure that children worked on their dreams and not on the fields. On her part, Dr Betty Annan, the Country Director, World Cocoa Foundation said child labour had no place in the cocoa sector. She noted that one of their main programmes,was community empowerment, and called for the total elimination of child labour from all sectors of the economy to allow all children of school-going age to go to school.
The World Day Against Child Labour, which falls on June 12, is being observed by Ghana at Effiduase in the Ashanti Region.
The 2019 World Day Against Child Labour is on the theme: “Consolidating Efforts: Children Must Work on Dreams not in Fields”.
According to the International Labour Organisation, the term child labour is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
According to the 2017 global estimates of child labour, 154 million children were in child labour and almost half of them, that is, 73 million worked in hazardous child labour.
The statistics revealed that approximately every one out of five children is engaged in child labour.