Ghana’s child labour monitoring system needs review – ICI

Christabel Addo, GNA

Accra, Sept. 10, GNA – The International Cocoa
Initiative, (ICI), has pledged its full support to the review of Ghana’s Child
Labour Monitoring System (GCLMS) that was being done by the Ministry of
Employment and Labour Relations (MELR) with its stakeholders.

The general objective was to harmonize the
GCLMS with all other child labour and protection monitoring and remediation
systems, to make it more effective and efficient for addressing child labour in
all sectors of the country.

Mr Mike Arthur, the National Coordinator for
the International Cocoa Initiative, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency at the
weekend, said the review had become imperative based on recommendations of the
final report of the GCLMS.

He said, after being piloted in 25 communities
within six districts, under the National Programme for the Elimination of Child
Labour in Cocoa (NPECLC) since 2010, the review is paramount.

He said the report had identified challenges,
including the changing approaches to data collection procedures and tools such
as questionnaire and software, and the setting up of structures at all levels
by various organisations, to tackle child labour issues.

He said the review was therefore to evaluate
some of the indicators identified under the System that have proven to be
unachievable by stakeholders, measure the relevance of others, and ensure a
more streamlined system that would be relevant to tackling child protection in
its entirety, especially in the cocoa sector.

The process, he said, further seeks to link
the System to the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) common
targeting mechanism, as well as the private Child Labour Monitoring and
Remediation Systems (CLMRS) to promote coordination.

Mr Arthur said the ICI was however of the view
that government does not need to restrict all players to the use a single
harmonized system, but could adopt good aspects of the various private
monitoring systems, while allowing existing workable ones to run alongside the

He said the ICI has already developed its own
CLMRS, which it was working with in selected cocoa communities within the
Western, Eastern, Central and Ashanti regions, using the Supply Chain Approach
to identify child labour within groups of cocoa buyers, and monitoring the
activities of suppliers.

It has also used a “Dual Approach”, to
identify child labour issues within these communities, and referred them to
proper remediation systems, while helping farmers with alternative livelihood

He said community service groups had been
formed to help young farmers to improve their farms, supported school
management systems, in terms of governance, as well as instituted child
protection committees, he said.

These interventions have reduced child labour
issues in these areas, adding that, so far Ghana has improved by transiting
from its “Tier two Watched, on the global list, to just Tier two,” he said.

Giving a background, he said the GCLMS was
instituted by the government in 2010, to monitor child labour issues through a
holistic and dynamic process, to reduce the Worst Forms of Child Labour and
other abuses in the country.

The GCLMS therefore demanded for the
establishment of a National, Regional, District and Community structures to serve
as an interface for the protection and identification of victims of child
labour as well as the delivery of services to identified vulnerable households
and children at all levels.  

Mr Arthur said since then, both international
and national organisations have used same, other methods or a mixture in their
respective project areas to address child labour in the country and have
identified some issues that need urgent redress.

He said the ICI believed that the review of
the GCLMS would now ensure its full implementation and help direct victims of
child labour for remediation.

He said the ICI was expecting to see a system
that clearly defined the role of both the public and private sectors in the
implementation process, where the GCLMS and the LEAP would be used as
complimentary tools in addressing child protection, and further enhance
linkages between the system and other private CLMS to enhance coordination.

The MELR on September 4 to 5, 2018, held a
national stakeholders forum in Accra, to review the GCLMS, based on some
recommendations made after it had been piloted in six (25 Communities) under
the National Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour in Cocoa (NPECLC).


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