ICI COMMISSIONS NEW CLASSROOM BLOCK IN ANKRA MUANU
14th June, 2019 will forever be remembered as a great day in the lives of the people of the Ankra Muanu cocoa community. Parents, teachers and children there witnessed their chief, and other community leaders, cut the ribbon to mark the opening of their new Kindergarten (KG) block. This activity was witnessed by representatives from the Municipal Assembly, the Municipal Directorate of the Ghana Education Service, the ICI Deputy Country Director and other officials from the Foundation and representatives from Olam.
During the ceremony, the Chairman of the Community Child Protection Committee (CCPC), Opanie Agyepong, spoke of how ICI came into the community and the assistance they have received as a result of their involvement in the community development programme. He also went on to recount how ICI collaborated with the district assembly, the chief and CCPC to put up this 2-classroom structure with an office and a storeroom.
The representative from Olam, Felix Keteku spoke of the company’s role in ensuring a responsible supply chain. According to him, “Olam is concerned with the well being of cocoa farmers by ensuring that they earn higher returns from their work. We are not only concerned about helping the farmers, we are also concerned with helping their children to have a better future through education. Our objective is that everywhere we buy our cocoa from, the children there must be in school. We have taken it upon ourselves to set up CCPCs in the communities where we work to ensure that child labour is eliminated. We assist these communities with infrastructure such as school blocks, boreholes and community health facilities in our effort to promote child protection. Our work with ICI is part of our broad approach towards ensuring a responsible supply chain.”
During his remarks, Prince Gyamfi the Deputy Country Director of ICI, spoke of how the Foundation came to be established and the role members of the chocolate industry have played in the foundation’s work. According to him; “concentrating on cocoa farming alone without allowing children to go to school has no future benefits due to the shortage of farmlands and the need for improved knowledge. A child’s work is in the classroom and not on the farm.”
According to him, the Foundation decided to help Ankra Muanu build this school because, “the state of the KG block was a big worry to us. This is because we do not want the situation whereby there will be a disaster in any of the communities we are working with, especially involving children. The construction of this block was a collaboration between the assembly, ICI and the leaders of the community. The chief helped us to acquire the land for the construction and the assembly assisted with the design of the structure and supervised the construction. We must ensure to maintain the structure so it can last for us. We need to develop a maintenance culture to enable this block serve the community for a long time.”
As a conclusion to his remarks, he praised the CCPC for the work done in the community which reflected in ICI’s assessment which showed great improvement in the community’s knowledge, attitude and practice with regards to child labour. He also encouraged the members to continue with the awareness raising sessions in order to ensure a total elimination of child labour. He went on to encourage the community to be more involved in their development by working with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who came to their community. He pointed out,
“The government cannot do everything alone. Communities working with NGOs and companies is one of the sure ways for them to facilitate their development.”
He added that a high proactivity of a community in their work with stakeholders will ensure better development.
The ceremony ended with ICI officially handing over the building to the municipal assembly.