Ashanti Region, Ghana – A project funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development (NORAD) in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region, aimed at reducing forced and child labour in mining and cocoa-growing communities, is making significant strides.
Stakeholders in the beneficiary communities have reported that various interventions by mining and cocoa companies are not only improving their living standards but also empowering them to advocate for their rights and demands from companies and government authorities.
During the third quarterly meeting of stakeholders convened to strengthen the commitments and actions of companies and government agencies in Nyinahin, community members expressed their gratitude for the project's positive impact on their lives.
The project focuses on protecting children and vulnerable workers against forced and extreme forms of child labour.
Key stakeholders in the cocoa value chain, including cocoa purchasing companies and gold mining associations, are actively engaged in the fight against child and forced labour as part of the project.
Community volunteers in all 40 project districts have undergone training in advocacy strategies, understanding forced and child labour, and the use of mobile apps to collect data on the implementation of commitments by government and companies to eradicate child and forced labour.
The knowledge and confidence gained through this training enable volunteers to follow up on commitments to ensure they are fulfilled.
Madam Aba Oppong, Executive Director of Rights and Responsibilities Initiatives Ghana (RRIG), the local partner of the project, highlighted various interventions in the communities.
These include risk assessments and profiling of individuals, the formation of village savings and loans associations, and community child protection committees, with members trained to stay updated on child labour issues.
Madam Oppong emphasized the vulnerability of women and young girls and the need to empower them to participate in community development efforts.
Lawrence Osei, the District Assembly representative, pledged to convey stakeholders' concerns to the authorities for policy consideration.
Samuel Adu-Gyamfi, Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners, assured participants of the Association's commitment to addressing their concerns.
Joyce Poku-Marboah, Senior Project Manager, reported progress in raising awareness about the negative effects of forced and child labour in project communities.
Community members now better understand the issues associated with child labour and are actively engaged in addressing them.
The project has facilitated improved relationships between communities, mining and cocoa companies, and government agencies, enabling communities to effectively communicate their concerns and follow up to ensure their fulfilment.
Reporting by Yussif Ibrahim. Editing by Mariam Aminu.