ICI COMMENDED FOR CLMRS IMPLEMENTATION BY A MEMBER OF THE GERMAN PARLIAMENT
A team from ICI joined a member of the German Parliament, Dr. Sascha Raabe to visit Koniyaw, an ICI community. He was accompanied by Verena Wiesner, the Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy in Accra. Also present were representatives from Nestle, Cocoanect and Cocoa Merchant.
Dr. Raabe interacted with the Headteacher of the Methodist school in the community and pupils there who have benefited from Nestlé’s Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS). He and the team interacted with key actors of the project and some of the children who have been remediated from child labour as well as the Head Teacher of the Methodist School.
One of the highlights of the day was when Mavis Osei, a 14 year old beneficiary of educational materials from the project, recounted her experience for the team. She spoke of the work she used to do before the CLMRS started in her community. She also spoke of the change she has seen in her family since her father benefited from the awareness raising on child labour and the dangers associated with it. According to her, ” I used to work a lot on the cocoa farm. This meant I had to skip school sometimes. Though I mostly helped my parents to gather and collect the harvested pods, it interfered with my education. This situation has changed since my Father became part of the CLMRS. Now, I only help with the farm work on weekends and my Father has reduced the number of hours I have to work.”
The other children present spoke of their preparedness to stay in school so they can become medical doctors, nurses and teachers. Dr Raabe also encouraged them to think about going into politics as this is one of the ways through which they can make policies which will give a better life to other children in their community.
After the interaction Dr Raabe stated
“I think this is a very good project that will help to reduce child labour in cocoa. I wish there will be more of these projects. As good as it is, the project is targeting a limited number of farmers and I think the chocolate companies could do more. The government of Ghana can also do more by guaranteeing that all children go to school and that no child is involved in child labour. Also, I hope more chocolate companies will get on board with the CLMRS. This way it does not become a small good island but it will be a standard for all cocoa farm work. In Germany, we like to eat chocolate and we know that cocoa beans from Ghana make very good chocolate. I think all our consumers will gladly pay more for the chocolate but we will like to see that the profits go to the farmer and that they can make a good living of their work. We want to eat our chocolate with a good conscience. We want to see an end to child labour and the fact that the farmers earn good money for a good life. This is something I am looking forward to supporting in my work as a parliamentarian. I also hope that the Ghanaian Government will give more funding towards these projects. Ghana is in a good way economically and they shouldn’t neglect the rural areas and the social problems here. There is more to do and I hope the government does more than it is doing now.”