Third phase of national action plan against child labour launched

Child labour
Child labour

In celebration of the 2023 World Day Against Child Labour, the Child Labour Unit of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, has launched the third phase of the National Plan of Action against child labour.

The event attracted participants from various departments across the nation to the Ntowkrom district of the Ayensuano District in the Eastern Region.

Child labour describes the exploitation of children, who are deprived of their childhood by work that prevents them from attending school and causes physical, mental, and social damage.

Ms. Josephine Awuku Ansaa Inkoom, the Ayensuano District Chief Executive (DCE), indicated at the celebration that children in the district were subjected to all forms of child labour, including farming, because agriculture was the predominant occupation and a source of livelihood.

She stated that despite the progress made in various sectors of the economy of the area, the assembly could not overlook the fact that countless children were denied access to education, health care, and a life free of physical and emotional abuse.

She said it was a moral duty of every parent, guardian, and every member of society to ensure that every child had the opportunity to enjoy their childhood and build a better future.

Ms. Inkoom remarked that, as a result, the assembly has revitalised the District Child Labour Committee, which meets quarterly to explore strategies, such as sensitization and the implementation of bylaws, that might help in combating the district-wide problem.

“In a quest to promote access to effective justice delivery and help assist in the enforcement of the assembly’s bylaws to fight all forms of abuse, a newly constructed District Court complex has been constructed in Coaltar,” she explained.

The World Day Against Child Labour is observed annually on June 12 to raise awareness and encourage action against all forms of child labour. This year’s theme was “Intensify action against child labour: Do it now!”

It was supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), and the World Cocoa Foundation, among others.

Ms. Esther Ofori Agyeman from the Labour Unit of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations provided background information on the new National Plan of Action (NPA), also known as the Ghana Accelerated Action Plan against child labour.

She stated that the launch of the NPA in 2023 represents the third phase that Ghana has developed.

She said the objective was to eliminate the worst forms of child labour and establish the social, policy, and institutional groundwork for the elimination and prevention of all other forms of child labour.

The first phase of the NPA began in 2009 and concluded in 2015, while the second phase began in 2017 and ended in 2021, and the third phase will commence in 2023 and end in 2027.

The Ghana Accelerated Action Plan against child labour was jointly launched by Mr. Bright Wireko Brobbey, Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and Mr. Seth Kwame Acheampong, Eastern Regional Minister.
The new implementation strategies, policies, and guiding principles were summarised in a book.

Agriculture; street hawking, begging, and porterage; illegal small-scale mining (“galamsey”)) and quarrying; driving tricycles and small vans (“Aboboyaa” and “Pragya”); child domestic labour; plastic waste and scrap collection; commercial sex exploitation of children; gaming; and betting.

Ms. Lucia Soleti, Chief of Child Protection at UNICEF, said, “We know that the current generation of children will one day become the backbone of the future socioeconomic development of Ghana.”

Therefore, Ghana prioritises strategic and expeditious investments in the protection of children and youth.
She also said UNICEF was working with the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, ICI, the private sector, municipal and district assemblies, as well as development partners such as SWISSCO/SECO and the World Bank to develop a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model to address the root causes of child labour.

The PPP model recognises the significance of strengthening the district system and establishing a child-friendly ecosystem across education, child protection, health and nutrition, gender and youth, public finance management, and social behaviour modification, among other areas.

A variety of exercise books, pencils, pens, sharpeners, erasers, and other items were distributed to some schools that participated.

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