AFRAMOASE BENEFITS FROM AWARENESS RAISING ON CHILD LABOUR IN COCOA
One of the biggest challenges for teachers working in the Aframoase community, in the Ashanti region of Ghana, is the involvement of children in cocoa and rice farming activities, even during school hours. On a given day, it is a common sight to see pupils as young as ten years old being taken from the classroom by their parents to go and chase birds away from the rice farms. The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) partnered with the Department of Children under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development in the Bosome Freho district to carry out awareness raising on the dangers of child labour.
Using ICI’s Kweku series, a four-part animation on child labour in cocoa, an awareness raising session was carried out in the community with adults and children.* The series focuses on how Kweku, his family, friends and his whole village transitioned from a community at risk of child labour to a community that adopted a child-centered development approach. The Kweku series supports ICI to raise awareness in communities where it is not currently active.
During the session in Aframoase, the community members present were introduced to concepts such as the importance of education, the need to be involved in community-related projects, the importance of having alternative income sources and the risks involved in children working without adult supervision as they watched Kweku and the other characters in the animation struggle with these issues.
Awareness raising of this kind is important as many children assist their parents with farm work to raise the money for educational materials such as books or shoes. During the ensuing discussions, the possibility of community members beginning Income Generating Activities was explored the Department of Social Welfare official.
“We are very appreciative of the education on child labour and its consequences. We have learnt that children should not be made to engage in work that is above their strength and age,” said Godfred Nortey, the Assembly Member for the Aframoase community, after the exercise. “We have realised that if we are able to come together as one people to practice what we have learnt, it will benefit our community and help us establish a better education system for our children.”
Children also benefited from the Kweku series and awareness raising. Lincoln Greene, a 12 year old pupil at the local school, is one of the children who was often going to the farm on school days. After watching the series he had a completely different mindset. “I have realised that children must engage in age appropriate work,” he explained. “What I was doing was not good for me. I need to concentrate on my education because that is what will give me a good life in future.”
Together with the people in Aframoase, about 2500 adults and children have benefited from awareness raising sessions on child labour in the Ashanti region under this initiative this year.
*These training sessions were carried out prior to the implementation of social distancing measures in Ghana due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To learn more about ICI’s response please see here.