23 November 2020

ICI partners with CLU and GJA to mainstream child labour and forced labour issues into the ongoing national discource

The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) has partnered with the Child Labour Unit (CLU), under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations , and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to mainstream issues of child labour and forced labour into the national discourse. This objective will be piloted through a four-month project with 9 journalists from national and international media houses such as GBC-Radio, GBC-Television (Ghana Broadcasting Corporation), Bloomberg, Ghana News Agency, Today Newspaper and Ghanaian Times.

The project began with a training session to strengthen participating journalists’ understanding of child and forced labour, with the support of Verité, one of the leading organizations in the fight against forced labour. The project also seeks to increase accurate reporting on these issues and has set up a fund allowing journalists to apply for support to research and report on related stories. An accountability platform will be formed in January 2021 to discuss the project’s progress and plan future collaboration among all the participating stakeholders.

“For me, I think the training was wonderful. Although I have been doing stories on child labour, I had a shallow understanding of the whole concept which reflected in my work,” said Rachel Kakraba, a journalist from GBC-Radio. “Thanks to the training, my overview on child labour has broadened. Going back to the field, I now know what to look out for. There are a lot of issues concerning children. Knowing there is some form of support to help us do the work is a great step. We were limited to certain areas due to the lack of funds. With this support, I can work more extensively on child labour and forced labour related issues and even get the opportunity to go to the field to help in publishing accurate information on the issues.”

Each of the three partner organizations have resolved to carry out their roles in order to support journalists like Rachel cover stories which will generate more interest and discourse on the importance of the fight against child labour.

“I must say that this GJA collaboration with the ICI, and CLU is indeed very relevant and timely. Relevant because children represent the future and their well-being cannot be left on the back burner,” said Rebecca Ekpe, a member of the GJA Project Management team. “Also, for journalists, continued education is a necessity in building and maintaining the craft of writing. Above all, the Covid-19 pandemic has left in its wake socio-economic and other intangible challenges that are impacting people’s lives, families, and societies to a large degree and obviously, children have not been left out of this. It is therefore the responsibility of journalists to bring to the fore the issues for corrective actions, and that is why the support from the CLU and ICI is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to more of such collaborations.”

The CLU realizes the importance of this collaboration, especially with the media since they play a crucial role when it comes to the dissemination of information.

“The fight against child/forced labour can only be achieved by a holistic approach with the media in the center of this collaboration, to push the information to the very remotest but important areas in the country. This move should lead to attitudinal and behavioural change where the general public would join in the fight against child labour to reduce it to the barest minimum as stated in the second National Plan of Action (NPA2). This will go a long way towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 8.7,” added Elizabeth Akanbombire, an Assistant Chief Labour Officer with the MELR and head of the CLU.