Rainforest Alliance partner Solidaridad, ICI to school CSOs, CBOs on child & forced labour

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The Rainforest Alliance, in collaboration with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and Solidaridad, and with funding support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), organized a one-day sensitization workshop to build capacity of leaders of some selected Civil Society Organizations and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) in the country’s cocoa and gold sectors value supply chain.

Twenty-five (25) participants from Ghana’s Ashanti, Western, Greater Accra, and Eastern Regions were guided through child labor, its harshest manifestations, and the core causes of forced and child labor.

They were all equally informed on the project’s aims, how it is being executed, and what is required of each and every one of them in order for the project’s objectives to be met effectively.

The event, titled “One-day workshop for CSOs and CBOs on Monitoring Government and the Supply Chain Commitments of Companies and Cooperatives on Child and Forced Labor in the Cocoa and ASM Sectors,” was conducted on Thursday, December 16, 2021, at the NODA Hotel in Kumasi.

Mrs. Joyce Poku-Marboah, Senior Project Manager of Rainforest Alliance, addressed the participants, noting that the move was part of her organization’s efforts to strengthen the capacity of CSOs and CBOs in order to increase efforts toward identifying, monitoring, preventing, and addressing child and forced labor in Ghana’s gold mining and farming communities.

She explained that the workshop was inspired by the initiative “Tackling Forced and Child Labour in Cocoa and Gold Mining Communities,” also known locally as “Yen Ne Mmofra No Nti,” which was designed to supplement the government’s efforts to eradicate forced and child labor, which is considered unfair contract practices.

“The reason we’re here is related to the project.” We are here to help the voiceless and vulnerable individuals who do not have a voice.

We are here because children and adults who are subjected to forced labor need us to speak on their behalf.”

Mrs. Joyce Poku-Marboah disclosed in her presentation that the engagement is a precursor to an upcoming major event in a similar fashion, with the goal of holistically empowering, enlightening, and deepening the knowledge level of the participants on the project’s entails in order to be well positioned for effective and efficient delivery of its goals.

She reminded the participants of their responsibilities to constantly monitor and successfully report on the government’s obligations, including those made by cocoa firms and gold mining groups inside the projected communities under the initiative.

This, she claims, will be accomplished via the use of a monitoring instrument that has yet to be built and sent to them.

Mrs. Poku-Marboah spoke about the program, revealing that it is taking a landscape approach to tackling the chronic systemic issue in a holistic way, naming the Ashanti, Western, Western North, and Eastern Regions of Ghana as regions of coverage.

Mr. Ernest Berko, Deputy Director for Policy Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, inaugurated the “Yen Ne Mmofra No Nti” Project on behalf of the Minister in Accra on September 30, 2021.

The project’s ultimate objective is for children and vulnerable people in Ghana’s cocoa and gold-mining villages to achieve enhanced socioeconomic resilience and protection against forced labor and the worst kinds of child labor.

Vulnerable children, youth, cocoa enterprises, cooperatives, appropriate government agencies, and CSOs in Ghana are among those targeted.

The three-year plan, which will be implemented in 120 chosen cocoa cooperatives, firms, and gold mining groups representing over 300,000 members by the end of 2024, is estimated to help around 12,500 disadvantaged persons, including children, youth, women, and men.

Child labor is a cankerworm that is harming the futures of countless youngsters throughout the world at an alarming pace. Ghana’s position is much worse, with 21.8 percent (668,000 children) believed to be child laborers, with more than six in ten of them engaging in hazardous employment (NPA phase 2). Within Ghana’s cocoa supply chain, an additional 14000 forced child laborers are estimated. In response to these challenges, the government and cocoa supply chain firms have made various promises, adopted supply chain rules, and joined efforts targeted at eliminating child labor.

Reflecting on Ghana’s growth, Dr Albert Arhin, a professor and researcher, regretted that most agreements made by the government and firms in cocoa farming and gold mining areas were not followed through on, worsening the country’s struggle against child and forced labor.

As a result, he urged all participants to stay focused on the job at hand and to work diligently and cooperatively to resist the threat.

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