News 11 June 2019

ICI results in 2018: critical steps on a transformational journey

Children smiling at the classroom in an african community

To mark the World Day Against Child Labour, the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) today launches its Annual Report for 2018, which shows that a “dual approach” combining prevention and response to child labour is the way forward.

By end-2018, ICI’s direct action had benefited 287,762 children, and the organisation is on course to realise its target of directly assisting 375,000 children, as part of its broader goal of improving child protection for 1 million children in cocoa growing areas by 2020. ICI also launched new innovation projects in three core areas in 2018 — quality education, expansion of due diligence systems, and forced labour risk-management – which will increase the knowledge and power of the sector to scale up models that drive real impact.

As a result of ICI’s work in 75 communities, more than 2,000 children, including many former child labourers, were newly enrolled in school in 2018 and over 3,500 people raised their household incomes. Through ICI’s supply chain work, covering 149 farming cooperatives, 24,973 children were identified in child labour and are now being supported. ICI’s experience has shown that Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) can reduce the incidence of child labour amongst identified cases by more than 50%.

ICI’s learning journey, together with our members and partners is perhaps best illustrated in the Foundation’s approach to child education over the past decade. From an initial focus on primary school infrastructure as an alternative to family labour, we learnt that many child labourers are in fact too old to attend primary school or have dropped out of the system entirely. We therefore started providing vocational training for older children and “bridging classes” to help those who have dropped-out catch up with their peers. We then found that poorer children had difficulty attending bridging classes due to competing work pressures or were struggling to concentrate because they were hungry. So, we established school canteens providing nutritious meals for bridging-class attendees, helping them to complete the course. Finally, with more child labourers reintegrated into formal schools, we now recognise that keeping them there and preventing others from dropping out requires more emphasis on a range of quality education dimensions. By enhancing teacher training, school management and school facilities, we can help pupils learn and succeed. A new ICI study conducted in 2018 and just released shows that those communities with the best education quality and schooling environment have child labour rates that are 66% lower than where schooling standards are the poorest. With this information, we are taking yet another step forward on our journey, channelling the knowledge we’ve built up into our new innovation pilot in which we’ll test, over the coming two years, how government partners can apply and scale-up multiple quality education interventions, and their combined impact on child labour reduction.

“As a platform for collective learning across our members and partners, ICI is escorting the cocoa sector on an incremental journey of transformation” said Nick Weatherill, ICI’s Executive Director. “The search for solutions in the face of complex challenges does not always require a radical rethink, but rather the courage and honesty to filter results from disappointments, learn from them and build upon them. The next step forward will be all the more solid, all the more determined, and all the more impactful, as a result.”

ICI’s revised strategy focusing on innovation, learning and capacity-building is designed with this in mind, to catalyse the required scale-up of effective prevention and due-diligence practices. The global aim of eliminating all child labour in the world by 2025 requires vision, commitment and investment. ICI’s 2018 Annual Report provides a detailed look into those efforts and results in the cocoa sector that our collective ambition and our continuing collaboration should be built upon.

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