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04.12.2004 Regional News

52 communities in five districts benefit from WACAP project

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Kumasi, Dec 4, GNA - Fifty-two communities in five districts in the country have benefited from the West Africa Cocoa/Commercial Agricultural Project (WACAP) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which cost 2.5 billion cedis to be implemented.

Eighteen communities in the Atwima-Mponua district, eight in the Amansie West, all in the Ashanti region, eight in the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar in the Eastern Region and nine in the Kassena-Nankana in the Upper East Region benefited.

The WACAP, United States Department of Labour and Cocoa Global Issues Groups in the USA, were funding the project, which sough to create awareness on child labour, rehabilitate about 1,000 children and assist 150 communities, jointly.

Mrs Rita D. Owusu-Amankwaah, Country Programme Coordinator of WACAP, said these at the opening of a two-day management training workshop organized by WACAP for the various implementing agencies in Kumasi on Friday.

The workshop which was attended by 30 participants of the WACAP implementing agencies including government agencies, workers union, district assemblies and other non-governmental organizations, was designed to equip them with the relevant project management and reporting skills to ensure effective project implementation and the preparation and submission of reports.

It was also aimed at building the capacity of partners on how to handle child labour issues and the conducting and disseminating research findings.

Mrs Owusu-Amankwaah noted that child labour was a global issue that had attracted a lot of attention in recent times because of its negative effect on the development of children.

She said the ILO estimated that 246 million children were involved in the worst forms of child labour and that the incidence was rife in the cocoa, coffee, cotton, rubber and teak growing sub-sectors of economic activity worldwide.

The Country programme Coordinator noted that work in the agricultural sector had been described as hazardous because of the preponderance of biological, physical and ergonomic hazards associated with the sector.

Mrs Owusu-Amankwaah also said that children working in the sector were likely to be at great risk because their anatomical and physiological systems were developing and therefore more prone to the negative impacts of those hazards than adults under the same conditions. She said the ILO Convention 182 calls for immediate action to eliminate the worst forms of child labour.

Mrs Owusu-Amankwaah said it was in consonance with the call that several organizations including the ILO and other partners formulated policies and implemented programmes aimed at facilitating compliance of the Convention.

Mr George Allotey, Assistant Finance Officer of the ILO, appealed to the participants to take the workshop seriously to enable them prepare their financial and other reports effectively.

Mr John Kwadwo Owusu, chairman of the Ashanti Region Network of NGOs, urged the implementing agencies to work as a team to ensure the success of the project to eliminate child labour.

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