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20.07.2005 General News

707 children withdrawn from cocoa farms


Nyinahin (Ash), July 20, GNA - About 747 children working as labourers in five cocoa and rice producing districts in the country have been withdrawn and enrolled in schools and skills development training centres.

Thousand of such children are expected to be disengaged from the hazardous work by the end of this year under the West Africa Cocoa/Agriculture Project (WACAP) of the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).

The beneficiary districts are Atwima-Mponua, Amansie West, Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar, Sefwi-Wiawso and Kasena-Nankana. Mrs Rita Owusu Amankwa, Country Programme Coordinator of WACAP, made this known at a briefing and presentation of tools and school materials to some beneficiary children in the Atwima-Mponua District at Nyinahin on Tuesday.

The Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), which is implementing the project in the District, presented the items, valued at 10.6 million cedis. They included sewing machines, school uniforms, bags and sandals.

Mrs Amankwa said so far, 415,337 dollars had been spent on the training, education and the monitoring of the beneficiary children in the five districts.

She said child labour was a threat to the attainment of education for all by the year 2015 and urged the parents of beneficiary children to support the project to succeed.

Mrs Amankwa said the project, which was being supported by the World Cocoa Foundation and the government of Ghana, aimed at eliminating child labour from cocoa production and place them in school to attain education.

Mr Charles Sakyi, Deputy Executive Director of CEDEP, said about 246 million children were engaged in child labour worldwide. Out of the number, 284,000 children were engaged in cocoa farms in West Africa with Cote d'Ivoire alone accounting for 200,000. Mr Sakyi said Ghana was making tremendous effort in eliminating child labour.

He said CEDEP, which was implementing the project in four districts had so far withdrawn 500 children and enrolled them in schools and skills development training centres.