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Rainforest Alliance, Cocoa Mmaa move to tackle poverty among vulnerable cocoa communities

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Rainforest Alliance, an international non overnmental organization, with its partners International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and Solidaridad Ghana, with funding from NORAD are helping farmer cooperatives to implement a human rights due diligence system that commits its leadership and members to a culture of respect for human rights.

This forms part of a drive to their “Yen Ne Mmofra No Nti” tackling forced and child labour project under which Cocoa Mmaa cooperative piloted the gender-sensitive tool that was developed by Rainforest Alliance.

The comprehensive tool throws more light on issues of child labour, forced labour , gender equality and workplace violence and harassment amongst other human right issues.

The tool helped identify vulnerable at risk and involved victims of child labour and forced labour for which remediation items have been provided to 39 residents from Kyensendaho, Babianiha, Achiase, Abudukrom, Antwikrom, Teacherkrom, Kontokrom, Buabin, Soboroso and Kwameprakrom of the Dunkwa cocoa district in the Western South cocoa Region.

The remediation items, which includes school bags, exercise books, pens, pencils, bicycles, solar charges, uniforms and some other items were handed over to the identified children to go back to school and parents to help them start their own business to access additional income streams aside from cocoa farming.

The Founder, Cocoa Mmaa farmers’ cooperative, Leticia Ama Kowoa Yankey explained that their cooperative is focusing on improving the living conditions and health status of people in under-served cocoa farming communities.

She used the opportunity to advise beneficiaries to embrace the culture of respect which is enshrined in the HRDD system so as to eradicate child labor and avoid practices that will jeopardize the future of the children.

“I have learnt that practicing child labor will not give us a good standing in selling our cocoa in the international market.”

“I want to charge the cooperative leaders to do peer to peer education on child labor among themselves and also among residents of the community.”

There will be monitoring done to make sure the items are being used for the intended purposes.
“The community and our leaders really appreciate the support we’re getting from Rainforest Alliance and its partners.

“Let me also use the opportunity to also thank “Better Than Cash-Digitalization” for also supporting us with mobile phones and solar chargers.

Ms. Yankey stated that, “the Senior Project Manager, Joyce Poku-Marboah and the Monitoring & Evaluation Associate, Alvin Adu-Asare, were instrumental in the implementation of the HRDD pilot and visited a number of times to provide guidance and listen to the concerns of the residents in the various communities” for which they are grateful.

Chief of Buabin, abokomahene Twifu Buabin, Nana Okoforobour I, Beneficiaries and the Buabin Electoral Area Assemblyman, Benjamin Obeng expressed their appreciation to Cocoa Mmaa, Rainforest Alliance and their partners for coming to the aid of these vulnerable individuals and the community at large.

“We are very happy, believing God that if we are able to do as led, we would be able to raise money to feed our families and train others to also become self-sufficient” they said.

Story by: Nana Yaw Reuben

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