10 June 2016

Ending child labour in cocoa-growing is everyone’s business

Ending child labour in cocoa-growing is everyone's business

The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) today released its 2015 Annual Report, highlighting the organisations’ key achievements for last year and emphasising that successful approaches to tackling child labour in cocoa growing still need to be taken to scale through collaborative action. The report is being launched ahead of the World Day against Child Labour, this year held under the theme “End child labour in supply chains – It’s everyone’s business!”.

In 2015 ICI worked in 157 cocoa-growing communities, 93 of these in Côte d’Ivoire and 64 in Ghana. A total of 313,273 people benefitted from community development and over 24,470 farmers’ households were reached through ICI’s innovative child labour monitoring and remediation system (CLMRS), integrated in the cocoa supply-chain.

As a direct result of ICI’s activities, which included construction of classrooms, primary health centres, teachers’ accommodations, and organising income-generating activities for vulnerable households, 6,185 children were newly enrolled in school in 2015, compared to 2014, in the 157 ICI-assisted communities.

“Our work and influence across communities, supply chains and knowledge-centres has brought a much-needed change in many cocoa households,” says Nick Weatherill, ICI’s Executive Director. “But we know that the burden of child labour in the cocoa sector remains significant, making ICI’s rallying call to improve child protection for one million children by 2020 all the more pertinent and pressing.”

Celebrated each year on 12 June, the World Day against Child Labour is observed by the International Labour Organization, other UN bodies, governments, trade unions and civil society to bring attention to the global issue of child labour, and the action needed to eliminate it. This year’s theme focuses on supply chains – in agriculture and fishing, manufacturing and mining, services and construction – which, according to the ILO, contain many of the 168 million children still in child labour, globally, today.

The launch of ICI’s Annual Report also comes on the heels of Chocovision 2016, a strategic conference bringing together senior international business and opinion leaders in the cocoa, chocolate and retail industries, and two weeks after the third World Cocoa Conference in the Dominican Republic. At both events, ICI participated in panel discussions on child labour and social sustainability, profiling its work in the cocoa supply-chain and highlighting the progress made, the potential identified and the challenges anticipated.

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