Assessing the effectiveness of Ghana’s efforts at addressing child labour in Cocoa Growing Communities (a case study of Wassa Amenfi West District of the Western Region)

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Child labour in the cocoa sector in some West African countries including Ghana has come under scrutiny in both the foreign and local media since late 2000 and early 2001. In response, a significant step towards addressing child labour in the cocoa sector in Ghana was taken in 2006 when the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment (MMYE) established the National Programme for the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour in Cocoa (NPECLC) in collaboration with other development partners to comprehensively work towards the elimination of child labour in all cocoa growing districts in Ghana. This research work therefore seeks to assess the effectiveness of Ghana’s effort at addressing child labour in cocoa growing communities in the Wassa Amenfi West (WAW) District. The study adopted five indicators, as the basis for assessing the effectiveness of the efforts at addressing child labour in cocoa growing communities in the WAW District. They include: Indicator 1: Awareness is raised and farmers understand the concept of a child, child labour and WFCL. Indicator 2: Labour burdens on children lessen and farmers tap into alternative labour sources for their production to ensure that children are protected or removed from CL/WFCL. Indicator 3: Children’s access to education is improved (positive impact on enrolment, attendance and retention). Indicator 4: Alternative livelihood projects introduced and have positive impact on household income Indicator 5: Interventions to build local capacity to ensure ownership and long term sustainability of initiatives at addressing the child labour issue. Community leaders, cocoa farmers and other stakeholders interviewed demonstrated high level of awareness and understanding of the child labour concept. The people believe awareness creation has helped in reducing the number of children who are involved in hazardous cocoa farming activities. However, despite these notable reductions in the magnitude of the menace, it cannot yet be said that child labour is a thing of the past in the study area. There remains a minority of particularly vulnerable children mostly residing in the remote hamlets of cocoa growing communities requiring specific strategies to ensure that they are protected and nurtured. Again the knowledge base of the non-permissible activities regarding children’s involvement in cocoa production and their possible health effects was low. On the basis of the findings, the study has made some recommendations for strengthening existing policies and to inform additional ones to eliminate child labour in cocoa growing areas. These include: sustaining awareness creation; need for local action and empowering community based structures; funding of child labour projects and sustainability; government action and collaboration; improving the quality of basic education; and improving access to basic services.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning.
Ghana,, Child labour,, Cocoa,, Wassa Amenfi, West District, Western Region