Hazardous child labour in Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa communities during COVID-19
Update 12 October 2020 – Many precautionary restrictions that had to be imposed during the partial Covid-19 lockdown were lifted in June. Child labour monitoring under ICI’s CLMRS continued thereafter in the same 263 communities that were covered by this study, and data collected during the months of July, August and September 2020 show no significant difference in child labour identification rates compared with the average rates over the same period in previous years. This suggests that the risk of child labour has returned to expected levels for the season. ICI will continue to monitor the situation through its CLMRS and will publish a detailed update soon.
To assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child labour, the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) analysed data from 263 communities in Côte d’Ivoire. In these communities, 1,443 cocoa-growing households were visited under ICI’s Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) between 17 March and 15 May 2020 to identify cases of child labour. ICI’s findings show that the percentage of children identified in child labour was higher during this two-month period, at 19.4%, compared to 16% in the same months in the same communities in previous years. This corresponds to a 21.5% increase in child labour identification.
Statistical tests support the hypothesis that the increase in child labour identification during 17 March to 15 May 2020 is related to the shock of COVID-19 and not due to a general trend. Further research will be needed to better understand the mechanisms at work.
This analysis compares the situation in 263 cocoa communities prior to, and during the partial lockdown, to understand the effects of this shock on child labour. This study was not designed to analyse – and should not be used to draw conclusions about – broader trends in relation to child labour prevalence.
The findings highlight the need to mobilise further international support to reinforce efforts currently being made by the government, industry and civil society partners to tackle child labour and improve children’s access to fundamental rights.
*This analysis was first published on 1 July 2020 and revised on 17 July to improve clarity. The results remain unchanged.