As part of measures to combat forced and child labour in the country’s cocoa and gold sectors value supply chain, the Rainforest Alliance in collaboration with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and Solidaridad with funding support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) have organized a one-day sensitization workshop to the build capacity of leaders of some selected Civil Society Organizations and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) aimed at enhancing their knowledge to effectively combat child labour and forced labour within 40 cocoa farming and gold mining communities in the country.
The participants numbering twenty-five (25), drawn from the Ashanti, Western, Greater Accra and Eastern Regions of Ghana were taken through child labour, its worst forms including the root causes of forced and child labour.
They were equally enlightened on the project objectives, how it is being implemented and what is expected from each and every one of them towards effective realization of its objectives.
The forum dubbed: “One-day workshop for CSOs and CBOs on Monitoring Government and the Supply Chain Commitments of Companies and Cooperatives on Child & Forced Labour in the Cocoa and ASM sectors” was held at NODA Hotel in Kumasi on Thursday December 16, 2021
Addressing the participants, the Senior Project Manager of Rainforest Alliance, Mrs. Joyce Poku-Marboah observed the move formed part of interventions by her outfit to deepen the capacity of CSOs and CBOs in a bid to step up efforts towards identifying, monitoring, preventing and addressing child and forced labour in gold mining and farming communities in Ghana.
She explained the workshop emanated from the initiative dubbed: “Tackling Forced and Child Labour in Cocoa and Gold Mining Communities” also locally known as “Yen Ne Mmofra No Nti which was intended to complement government’s effort at eradicating forced and child labour which is seen as unfair contract practices.
“Our reason for being here is situated in the project. We are here because of the voiceless and the vulnerable people who need our support.
We are here because of both children and adults who are involved in forced labour who need us to speak on their behalf”.
Mrs. Joyce Poku-Marboah in her presentation disclosed the engagement is a prelude to an upcoming major event, in similar fashion, intended to holistically empower, enlighten and deepen the knowledge level of the participants on the project entails in order to be well positioned towards effective and efficient delivery of its goals.
She reminded the participants of their obligation to always monitor the commitments made by the government including the cocoa companies and the gold mining associations within the proposed communities under the project and effectively report.
According to her, this would be achieved through the use of a monitoring tool yet to be designed and handed to them to work with.
Touching on the initiative, Mrs. Poku-Marboah revealed the project is using a landscape approach to solving the endemic systemic problem in a holistic manner, citing the Ashanti, Western, Western North and Eastern Regions of Ghana as areas of coverage.
The “Yen Ne Mmofra No Nti” Project was launched by Mr. Ernest Berko, the Deputy Director for Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, on behalf of the Minister in Accra on September 30, 2021.
The ultimate goal of the project is to have children and vulnerable people in cocoa and gold-mining communities in Ghana achieve increased socio-economic resilience and are protected against forced labour and the worst forms of child labour.
The targeted group includes vulnerable children, youth, cocoa companies, cooperatives, relevant government ministries and CSOs in Ghana.
In all, about 12,500 vulnerable individuals including children, youth, women and men are expected to benefit from the three-year initiative, which will be implemented in 120 selected cocoa cooperatives, companies, and gold mining associations covering over 300,000 members by the end of 2024
Child labour is a cankerworm destroying the future of many children globally at an alarming rate. Ghana’s situation is worse as 21.8 % (668,000 children) of children are estimated to be child labourers, and more than six in ten of them are engaged in hazardous work (NPA phase 2). About 14000 forced child labourers are further estimated within Ghana’s cocoa supply chain. In response to tackling this issues, government and companies in the cocoa supply chain have made varied commitments, developed supply chain policies and have joined initiatives aimed at reducing child labour.
Reflecting on Ghana’s development, Dr Albert Arhin, a lecturer and researcher lamented most commitments made by the government and companies in cocoa farming and gold mining communities were not being heeded to exacerbating the fight against child and forced labour in the country.
He therefore called on all the participants to be committed to task and work assiduously and harmoniously to help combat the menace.
Source: Joseph Wemakor