The quest to support the elimination of child labour and worst forms of child labour is highly prioritized in the business of Kuapa Kokoo. With a dedicated unit with highly qualified personnel, practical measures have been put in place to ensure that cocoa production is child labour free. There are approaches like implementing full intervention components on pilot bases, activation of remediation processes when there are referral cases from the field and partnership with like-minded organisations locally and internationally to support the course of eliminating child labour in cocoa production. Key interventions implemented are proactive in nature to ensure that children at risk of entering into child labour are prevented. In an event where children have entered into child labour, remediation measures are activated to remove them. Interventions are developed around prevention and withdrawal by removing and protecting children who have entered into child labour.
Interventions like sensitisation and awareness creation through the use of tools like posters developed around 5 concepts on permissible and hazardous work, film shows in the evenings, playing recorded jingle on local radio stations, radio panel discussions on the concept, causes and consequences of child labour and worst forms of child labour, the use of community information centres to discuss child labour, community durbars, and general farmer education on child labour by field officers . These interventions are carried out in cocoa growing communities.
Community Child Protection Committees are formed in times of need to serve as a watchdog in the absence of field and the unit’s officers. This is also to ensure ownership and sustainability of interventions implemented in the community. A committee of 8 members is composed with all interest groups represented to ensure full participation. Opinion leaders, women, children, local government representativies, men, teachers are given representation on the committee.
IDENTIFICATION AND MONITORING
Identification of suspected cases is done by committee members, field officers and the unit’s staff upon visit to some of these cocoa communities. A verification/probing exercise is carried out after a report of suspected case by the unit. If it is proven to be a case of child labour, remediation plan is activated to address the problem. Monitoring of identified case is very critical and it is carried out meticulously to ensure that the child in question is fully withdrawn from the problem. Monitoring is done by committee members, field officers and officers from the child labour unit. There is always the collaboration from the social welfare departments of the district assembly hence some form of monitoring is done by their district focal persons.
BENEFICIARY SUPPORT TO CHILDREN AND PARENTS
As part of the remediation process, children of school going age are put back to formal schooling if he/she is a dropout and is given educational supplies like school uniforms, stationary, bag, a pair of footwear to ensure that his/her interest in school is sustained. Children who have not registered yet onto the national health insurance are supported with the payment of the premium to access health care in the nearest health facility.
Children who have completed basic education and could not continue are also assessed and put into vocational skill training in their communities. Such children are supported with entry fee and tools to ensure effective training. Parents of child beneficiaries are also supported with alternative livelihood activities to ensure the generation of additional income for their families. This is to ensure that families get additional income apart from cocoa income to support the education of their children. Community group project like corn mill has also been established to support family beneficiaries.
DOCUMENTATION OF INTERVENTIONS
Critical protocols used in taking records are the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring System (GCLMS) tools 1 & 2, Direct Beneficiary Monitoring System (DBMR) which has the profile and monitoring forms are used. Activity reports are also generated after the implementation of interventions. Kuapa Kokoo will continue to support every effort aimed at eliminating child labour and its worst forms in cocoa production.
– Child Labour and Protection Unit Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union, 2016