Rainforest Alliance, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), says it has, with the support of Community Based Organisations (CBOs), trained 80 community monitors and equipped them to hold government agencies, cocoa companies, and gold mining associations accountable for child labour.
The monitors are to check the government agencies, cocoa companies, and gold mining associations for their commitments towards preventing, identifying and addressing forced and child labour in the local communities.
Madam Joyce Poku-Marboah, Senior Project Manager, said the programme had targeted 40 and empowered 40 project communities 40 communities in four regions in Ghana to eliminate all forms of forced and child labour in cocoa and gold mining areas.
Madam Poku-Marboa announced the project during a joint quarterly meeting with representatives from government agencies, cocoa companies, gold mining associations, community monitors and members, held at Asankrangwa.
The beneficiary communities include 10 communities in the Wassa Amenfi West Municipality of the Western Region.
The Rainforest Alliance and its implementing partners, International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and Solidaridad are implementing the NORAD-funded project on “Tackling forced and child labour in Ghanaian cocoa and gold mining sector”.
Madam Poku-Marboa said: “We decided to focus on cocoa and gold because both strive in the same ecosystem so if you are eradicating child labour in one sector, the people may end up moving to the other side.”
The project targeted support for government, cocoa companies, cocoa cooperatives, and gold mining associations, as well as the vulnerable people in the communities because the root causes of child labor are complex and inextricably linked.
She noted that government agencies, cocoa companies, gold mining associations and the citizenry had a role to play towards identifying, addressing, and preventing the menace, adding that, “We are trying to get these entities to fulfill its commitments to residents in their operational areas because that would help reduce forced and child labour.
Although the programme would end in June 2024, the volunteers have been given enough education, hence they would be able to solve any challenge that arises, Madam Poku-Marboah, added.
The Senior Project Manager stressed that to reduce the poverty level among women in these areas, they would be provided with the needed skills to enable them earn income and cater for their children.
Mr Anthony Kwame Darko, from the New Generation Concern (NGC) and Mr Ali Tanto from the Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS), both of which are CBO’s benefiting from Rainforest Alliance, commended the management for initiating the programme.
Mr Stephen Appiah and Madam Florence Yipadi Atusor, volunteers from Aboi Nkwanta and Asankran Oda communities told the Ghana News Agency that through the programme,
they have been able to encourage some students who dropped out of school to return to school.
They indicated that through knowledge gained under the project and the first quarterly dialogue held a few months ago, they have fostered relationships with the various stakeholders in an effort to tackle child and forced labour.