Let us raise awareness on child labour to stop menace – NGO

Social Child Advocacy
Social Child Advocacy

Mr Joseph Baradoe, Executive Director, Nature Aid Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has called for increased stakeholder engagement to end child labour in all its forms.

Research conducted in the country, he said, had identified cocoa farming and fishing as two activities that engaged most children in work, describing the situation as “very pathetic.”

“It is appropriate that the Government channels enough funds into resourcing social workers to lead the discussion on protecting children and ending all forms of child labour in Ghana,” he advocated.

Addressing a child labour advocacy forum at New Edubiase, in the Adansi-South District of the Ashanti Region, he described the menace as a threat to the society, citing its harmful effects on the development of the child.

The forum was designed to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Child Labour and organised by Nature Aid Ghana with support from DKA Austria, an international organisation striving for a decent life-free from exploitation and poverty, for all people.

It targeted farmers from about 10 communities in the Adansi-South District.

This year’s celebration was themed “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour,” bringing together stakeholders to highlight the plight of child labourers and what could be done to help them.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) estimates that one in 10 children are subjected to child labour worldwide, with some forced into hazardous work through trafficking.

160 million children were subjected to child labour at the beginning of 2020.

“The consequences are staggering. Child labour can result in extreme bodily and mental harm, and even death,” says the UNICEF.

Contributing to the forum, the participating farmers called on the government to upscale discussions on child labour issues.

They were of the conviction that given adequate organization in educating the masses, especially farmers, who were most culpable of engaging children in excessive farm work, the menace could be halted.

Mr Isaac Obeng Manu, a School Management Committee Chairman at Adansi-Ahinsan, speaking on behalf of the farmers, commended the Social Welfare Officers in the area.

Through the Officers’ arduous work and advocacy, most communities in the area which were child labour prone, had seen significant improvement in ending the unhealthy practice.

Mr Manu, outlining factors that triggered child labour in the area, said most newly posted teachers rejected postings to the rural communities due to bad road networks, unreliable communication networks and absence of teachers’ bungalows.

These factors result in truancy amongst the children, thereby compelling some of them to drop-out of school and engage in menial jobs, especially on farms and market centres.

He suggested that the government decentralised teachers’ postings in the districts to help education directors identify best ways to post teachers to communities to avert the mishaps.

Touching on scholarship schemes for children in the cocoa areas, he pleaded that the COCOBOD extended its scheme to rural areas and help to build school blocks and computer labs to bridge the technological gap between children in rural and urban centres.

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