Mr Bright Wereko-Brobbey, a Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, has launched the Ghana Child Labour and Responsible Mining Network (CLRM-Net) at Abedwum in the Adansi North District of the Ashanti Region.
It is to implement Action Plans on Child Labour, Child Labour Monitoring, Reporting and Law Enforcement in the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining sub-sector in Ghana.
The Network is part of the International Labour Organisation’s project strategy relating to the “Convening actors to develop and implement strategies to reducing child labour and improve working conditions in the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining sub-sector in Ghana and the Philippines.
Mr Wereko-Brobbey said Network was an indispensable part of the private, business, corporate and social lives as it fostered the exchange of information and ideas among groups that shared common interest.
“I am, therefore, optimistic that this Network… will go a long way to give more meaning and impetus to our collective effort towards the fight against child labour in the country,” he added.
He said collaborators in the fight against child labour had been working in isolation for long, and networking seemed to be totally absent in their books and operations.
The Minister said they appeared to be more of competitors than collaborators and no one seemed to know what the other was doing.
Mr Wereko-Brobbey said in the end huge sums of money were spent duplicating efforts or repeating the same methods and techniques that had been yielding little results.
He said it was for that reason that he considered the project as timely, especially when government needed to consolidate its efforts towards attaining target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The initiative will also contribute immensely to the effective implementation of the second phase of the National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Child Labour in the country,” he said.
Mr Wereko-Brobbey said to ensure effectiveness of the Network for the desired outcome, “we all need to own, utilize and mainstream it into our core activities, projects and programmes.”
He said it was his expectation that the Network would serve as a platform for sharing knowledge, experiences and good practices on mining, mineral processing, environmental management, child labour, working conditions, judicious and responsible mercury use and ways to promote mercury-free technologies in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining sub-sector in Ghana (ASMG).”
He commended the United States Department of Labour and International Labour Organisation (ILO) for such an initiative under the Caring Gold Mining Project.
Mr Paul Asamoah Kukwaw, the Executive Director of the Network for Community Planning and Development, said his outfit was collaborating with the ILO and the Child Labour Unit of the Ministry to support the establishment of Network.
He said several activities including collating and implementing Child Labour provisions in the National Plan of Action Against Child labour (NPA II, 2017-2021), pre-situational assessment report and Child Labour Free Zones would be undertaken.
Mr Asamoah said the Network would develop ASMG specific Child Labour monitoring framework and further develop standard operational procedures for the Child Labour in the sub-sector.
Other activities include advocacy, awareness raising and engagement with government, private sector and civil society aimed at stemming child labour and improving working conditions in the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining sub-sector in Ghana.