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11.12.2009 Social News

Ministry develops model for Child Labour in Fishing and Mining

By Kofi Adu Domfeh
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The National Programme on the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour in Cocoa is to be replicated in the mining and fishing areas.

Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, Antwi-Bosiako Sekyere, says the model will be implemented within the framework of National Plan of Action for Child Labour, to be rolled out next year.

He was addressing the 9th National Partners' Forum for the elimination of worst forms of child labour, holding in Kumasi.

Speaking to Luv Fm, Mr. Sekyere noted that “over ninety percent of our gold is produced by very big international companies who do not employ children”. He however observes “the remaining ten percent who are in illegal mining or 'galamsay' do engage children in their operations. We therefore want to have a programme for them so that we can educate them and get children out of galamsey”.

The Deputy Minister also wants the fishermen to appreciate the socio-economic implications of using children in fishing. “We want to support them to get the children out of fishing into school. His excellence Kofi Annan has pledged to assist us in terms of advocacy and funding' support to pursue the cause as we've done in the cocoa sector”, Mr. Sekyere said.

The Deputy Minister commended the partner groups for their commitment to the elimination of child labour in the cocoa industry. The partners, comprising government and non-governmental institutions, are currently reviewing a facilitators' manual for standardizing approaches to eliminating worst forms of child labour in the cocoa sector.

Mr. Sekyere cautioned non-governmental organizations, particularly World Vision, against unfair reports to undermine efforts to promote best labour practices. He warns government will not tolerate reports that do not reflect the true situation on the ground. “I've learnt that World Vision Australia is coming to Ghana to make another video. I would like to remind the management of World Vision Ghana that it has an obligation to the people of Ghana to tell the truth and not repeat the lies that were peddled last year”, he noted.

Meanwhile, the National Programmes Manager of NPECLC, Rita Owusu-Amankwah tells Luv Fm a pilot project on livelihood support schemes for parents in cocoa growing communities would be expanded in 2010.

The project is aimed at supporting cocoa farmers to set up additional business ventures to sustain their incomes during the lean cocoa season.

Mrs. Owusu-Amankwah says the ultimate objective is to ensure more children in cocoa growing communities can access education and not become victims of worst forms of child labour.

She says project would involve the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana and other interest groups.”We are collaborating with the CRIG to give training to some of these farmers to enhance their income. The Cooperative Department has also been tasked to mobilize the farmers to access credit facilities”, she said.

Mrs. Owusu-Amankwah commended traditional authorities for their lead role in sensitization drives for communities to be conscious about activities that impede the development of children.

She says remediation activities in the districts would be up-scaled next year.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Development / Accra / Ghana / Africa / Modernghana.com

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