The CODESULT Network, a non-government organization, and its partner Rainforest Alliance, have trained more than 20 community observers on the eradication of child and forced labour in the various farming and mining communities in the Bibiani Municipality.
The training was to, among others, ensure that companies and government’s commitment towards the prevention of children and forced labour in cocoa growing and mining communities were eliminated.
The training, funded by the Norwegian Government through NORAD was attended by representatives from, the Ghana Education Service, Social Welfare, the Ghana Health Service, Labour Department, NCCE, Planning Unit, and CHIRAJ and members from the Bibiani Municipal Assembly.
The training also brought together representatives from Cocoa Buying Companies such as Cargill, Fedco, MDLZ Ghanaians, Nestle Tuoton, Food Ingredients, and Mining Companies Chirano Gold Mines Limited, Awaso Bauxite Company, Mensin Gold Limited Bibiani as well as religious leaders and educators who are all duty-bearers in the fight against forced and child labour.
Mrs Alvin Adu-Asare, Senior Associate, Monitoring and Evaluation Learning for Rainforest Alliance, expressed concern about the increasing incidents of child and forced labour globally.
He said there has been an increase in the number of children involved in child labour which is about 8.4 million in just over four years, as published by the International Labour Organization and UNICEF.
She described child labour as the positive participation of children in economic and non-economic activities that were not harmful to their health or mental and physical development.
Mrs Adu-Asare however said: “The line is crossed, when children perform hazardous work, that is likely to harm their health or limit their education.”
Mrs Adu-Asare said a lot had been done by stakeholders and government officials to stop child labour, particularly in mining and cocoa farming communities, stressing that producing and consuming countries have raised numerous concerns about the menace and were working hard to identify, prevent, and eradicate child labour.
She announced plans to support farming communities in Ghana, adding that, funds would be made available to establish community-based child protection systems across the region, with a focus on protecting local children from hazardous farm work and assist them to stay and succeed in school.
She mentioned the need for institutions to collaborate with NGOs, the government and community members to win the battle against forced and child labour due to its complexity.
Nana Robert Obiri Yeboah, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CODESULT Network, urged Ghanaians to support the fight against child and forced labour in the various cocoa growing and mining communities, since child and forced labour eradication was a shared responsibility.
He was optimistic that with support from the government and their implementing partners, the elimination of child and forced labour in the Municipality would be achieved.
Participants were taken through advocacy, prevention and detection.