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ICI Intensifies Child Protection Strategy

The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), together with stakeholders, has launched the second phase of the National Plan of Action (NPA) 2 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour to improve activities to protect children.

The comprehensive plan outdoored at Okonam, a cocoa growing community in Suhum in the Eastern Region, seeks to sensitize the public on child protection, build capacity, ensure effective provision and monitor social services and empowerment programmes and sustain action against child labour.

It would also collate the contributions of all key stakeholders towards the fight against child labour, build on the achievements realized through the implementation of the NPA 1 and mitigate the challenges.

Mike Arthur, ICI National Coordinator, in his remarks at the launch of the Action Plan, noted that ICI uncompromisingly puts children first by ensuring that they grow up in an environment where the needs and wellbeing of the special but vulnerable group of humans are mainstreamed into the holistic development of the community.

He said through NPA 1, ICI has formed over 304 Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs), Community Service Groups (CSGs) and Income Generating Activities (IGAs) in communities to provide alternative labour sources to the cocoa farmers and provide additional livelihood to families so that children will be in school.

Mr. Arthur said ICI was of the view that both the public and private sector must have a clear way of harmonizing 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,” he said.

Mr Arthur reiterated that ICI and other stakeholders would ensure the elimination of child labour in Ghana in line with the National Plan of Action (NPA 2) for the elimination of child labour.

A national sustainability dialogue on child labour in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Employment Relations on the World Day against child labour would soon be hosted by ICI.

Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, said Ghana at 61 years has come too far to be engaged in child labour.

“Let us as a nation take advantage of the social policies available to keep our children in school and away from harmful practices,” she said.

The Minister noted that even though her parents had 22 children, they thought it wise to educate her

“When we put in place the right frame to protect our children, we ensure that their future is secure. Let us end child labour now and all it entails,” she added.

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