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As part of activities to scale up efforts in the fight against child labour, Ghana has launched the Phase II National Plan of Action (NPA II) for the elimination of child labour.
The NPA II was developed by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and the National Steering Committee on Child Labour (NSCCL) in consultation with key stakeholders in the fight against child labour.
It was developed based on the recommendation from the review of NPA 1 and the recent Child Labour Report conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) which states that the NPA II is expected to build on the gains made subsequent to the implementation of the NPA1 (2009 – 2015) with the view of utilizing the good practices and lessons learnt to address the challenges of child labour in a more effective and sustainable way.
This Action Plan also gives attention to the need to mobilize more resources, focus actions on local communities and strengthen educational outcomes so that children are enrolled and retained in school.
It includes interventions to sensitize the general public, build capacities of partners to tackle all worst forms of child labour, ensure effective provision and monitoring of social services and economic empowerment programmes and also promote community empowerment and sustainable action against child labour in mining, fishing, agriculture, domestic service, child trafficking, kayayoo, ritual servitude, streetism and begging, among others.
Speaking at the launch held at Suhum, the Municipal capital of the Suhum Municipal Assembly in the Eastern Region, the National Coordinator for International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) Ghana, Mike Arthur, called on communities to adopt and own the child centered community development approach.
“ICI believes uncompromisingly in putting Children first by ensuring that they grow up in an environment where the needs and wellbeing of these special but vulnerable groups of humans are mainstreamed into the holistic development of the community” he stated.
The National Coordinator of ICI explained that his outfit places the responsibility for ensuring that children are protected right with the community members and leaders, saying “we train, equip and facilitate the process for communities to carry out awareness creation, sensitization and monitoring of worst forms of child labour within the societies they live”.
He said “with our community development approach, groups such as the Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs) and Child Protection Clubs (CPCs) have been established to raise awareness as well as carry out monitoring of worst forms of child labour in their respective communities to ensure that their development prioritizes the interests and wellbeing of children”.
Arthur however, reminded the government, parents, and sector actors to understand that safeguarding and protection of children, particularly the vulnerable ones against trafficking, child pornography, and all forms of hazardous activities as it is enshrined in the hazardous activities framework of Ghana is everyone’s obligation.
“Let us all remember that an unprotected child is a potential high risk to our communities and nation so it is important for everyone to own the responsibility to ensure that the future of all children in our country is secured” National Coordinator of ICI retorted.
He also appealed to the state through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Ministry of Gender, Women and Children Protection to come up with one Central Coordinating Centre where issues of child labour will be handled.
“Mr. Chairman, ICI is of the view that both the public and private sector must have a clear way of harmonizing and reporting their efforts towards the elimination of child labour to the relevant international institutions.
“To achieve this, there is the need for a strong central coordination of data and child labour interventions by the private sector. A strong public- private collaboration is pertinent, for the private sector child labour monitoring and remediation systems (CLMRS) to feed data into the national database by increasing the depth, utility and visibility of national statistics. Private sector CLMRS can complement and expand the coverage of reportable child labour mitigation efforts under the national plan of action” Mr Arthur indicated.
He announced that as a support to the national authorities, ICI has provided resources for the launch of the NPA II and is also in the process to organize a national sustainability dialogue on child labour in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Employment Relations on the World Day against Child Labour. We have again planned to work with the Child Labour Unit and the National Steering Committee on Child Labour to review the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (GCLMRS) to link it to the private sector Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) and LEAP programme.
Source: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH