An investigation into the causes and effects of child labour in some communities of Kwahu North District

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7th APRIL, 2015.
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In the Ghanaian cultural context, it is very normal for a child to do household chores and accompany parents to the farm or market. It is when “any child under the age specified by the ILO C138 worldwide works full time, mentally or physically to earn for own survival or adding to family income, that interrupts child's social development and education that it is called child labour”. (Nair, 2007). Such engagements of children deprive them of academic and social developments. Case study research design or approach was selected for this research, because, Yin (1994) explained that “case study is “an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomena and context are not clearly evident”. The geographical scope of the research was the Kwahu North District; some communities were randomly sampled for this research. The case study approach was chosen for this research because child labour is an ongoing phenomenon, it takes place in the communities so data can be gathered easily. It is important to capture the various details on child labour to help in decision making. The case study approach reveals all the hidden elements that other research approaches cannot capture. This research specifically sought to achieve the following objectives: 1. Identify the causes of child labour in Ghana; 2. Identify the institutions that are responsible for addressing the problem of child labour and their challenges; 3. Examine the policies that address child labour and identify the causes of the violation of such policies; Findings of this research revealed that Child labour is a violation of the basic human rights of the children involved in it and will affect the development of any nation. The major causes of child labour that this research discovered were that working children had deceased parents and as a result had to work to fend for themselves. Other reasons like poverty in the family and the level of literacy of the parents. It was realized from this research that a number of parents do not send their children to school; they prefer to let their children work to make money. Some of the effects of child labour this research revealed were the continuity of the cycle of poverty in the life of the child as well as poverty in the community. Other facts the research revealed were retardation of community development and the increase of social vices in society. Some recommendations were also proposed for the reduction of child labour if not to completely eradicate it. Some of them include empowering the Ministry of Labour relations and Employment, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and all agencies fighting for the elimination of child labour, the abuse of the rights of the child to educate parents and guardians on the consequences of engaging children in child labour. Another area of attention is the establishment of child centers in all ten regional capitals by the government in collaboration with child labour international aid agencies. These centers are supposed to cater for children who do not have parents/guardians and are not in school but working. It is however recommended here that, the type and approach of education to be adopted should be borrowed from the approach of ‘School for Life’. Children in the School for Life are taught in their local languages, when their performances improve they are then added to the normal educational stream. In this sense the children will feel involved in the academic work and will enjoy it better as compared to the orthodox approach. From the analysis it is recommended that, all child labour units in collaboration with Parliament should enact new laws that will look at the various causes of child labour. It must be broad enough to cover the dynamism and growth of the menace of child labour and any aspect of child welfare that was not catered for by the 1992 constitution. Through this, the type of job, minimum age for working and educational attainment of the child should be factored into the design of the law.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning.