News 2 March 2018

Dutch Ambassador visits CLMRS project in Suhum

A team from ICI joined the Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, Sierra Leone, Togo and Liberia, His Excellency Ron Strikker, to Aponoapono in Suhum on 27th February 2018. The Ambassador carried out this tour with two other members of the Dutch government, Ms Froukje Verreijt, a Senior Project Officer of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and Mr Thierry van Helden from the Dutch Embassy in Ghana. They were accompanied by Ms Diara Lo, an Impact Analyst at Tony’s Chocolonely.

The aim of the visit was to gain first-hand information about the progress of the implementation of the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) and to better understand how the system works.

His Excellency Ron Strikker and his team interacted with key actors of the project including the leadership of ABOCFA; members and leaders of the Aponoapono community; Community Facilitators (CFs) and the programmes team and National Coordinator of ICI.

During the discussion, Froukje mentioned that the Netherlands Enterprise Agency supports companies like Tony’s Chocolonely Who invest in transparent supply chains and ensure children in cocoa growing communities are protected through systems like the CLMRS. She added that such first-hand visits on the ground helped the agency to see for themselves what the companies were doing on the ground.

One of the highlights of the day were the CFs’ stories about their work in cocoa households. They spoke of the change that their interaction with the farmers is bringing to their community.

In recounting his experience, Erasmus Fusese, one of the CFs, had this to say;

“In my interaction with the children, I realised that some of them were ready to go back to school. All they needed was some sensitisation. Two children who were school dropouts in one of the households I am handling are now in school. This attests to the effectiveness of the CLMRS.”

Read full testimony here

At the end of the visit, Froukje spoke of her impressions about the CLMRS and how it functions. She was especially enamoured with its role as a supportive rather than a punitive tool and was very interested in knowing more about the remediation packages which will soon be rolled out for identified beneficiaries.

His Excellency Ron Strikker advised the farmers to continue to protect their children from the effects of child labour by keeping them in school. He went on to say that the world is no longer happy consuming products being made cheaply from the toil of children and added that the best place for the child is the school.

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