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08.12.2004 Regional News

Five district assemblies get WACAP support

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Srebuoso (Ash), Dec. 8, GNA - The West Africa Cocoa and Commercial Agriculture Programme (WACAP) has provided about 50,000 dollars to five district assemblies and some organizations to withdraw children engaged in child labour and provide them with alternatives like attending school and learning a trade.

Mrs Rita Owusu-Amankwaah, Country Programme Co-ordinator of WACAP, who announced this, named the district assemblies as Atwima-Mponua, Amansie West, Sefwi-Wiawso, Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar and Kassena-Nankana. She also named the General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU), Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) and the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana (EPAG) as the other beneficiaries.

Speaking at the celebration of the International Day for the Reduction of Child Labour at Srebuoso in the Atwima-Mponua District, Mrs Owusu-Amankwaah said the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) with funding from the United States Department of Labour and the Cocoa Global Issues Group had so far withdrawn 656 children out of the targeted figure in the cocoa and commercial agriculture sectors.

She said the project would also assist parents of the children to acquire skills in alternative income generation to be able to support the children when the project ends.

Mrs Owusu-Amankwaah said the five district assemblies had been given money to establish a monitoring system dubbed "Child Labour Monitoring System" to monitor the activities of children workers to help them initiate actions to combat the menace.

Awareness, she said, was also being created in all these districts and communities to highlight the effects of hazardous child labour on children, parents and the nation as a whole.

Mr Charles Yeboah, Atwima District Chief Executive, advised parents to invest in their children's education and said the assembly would build school in the area to eliminate child labour.

Mr John Long, Vice-President of Hershey Foods and Chairman of World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) in the United States of America, cautioned cocoa farmers against engaging children on their farms.

He said the WCF encouraged education rather than the purchasing of cocoa for beverages.

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