ROLE OF WOMEN IN PROMOTING CHILD PROTECTION IN THE COCOA SUPPLY CHAIN
Women in rural areas have been known to play pivotal roles in the development of their communities in areas such as agriculture, child labour and economic advancement. Over the years, their level of involvement has been a determining factor in the success or failure of many development projects all over the world.
In cocoa-growing communities, Women are highly involved in their development. They have proven over the years to be key stakeholders of the fight against child labour through their commitment and efforts to ensure that it is eliminated from their communities. They are active members of Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs), School Management Committees (SMCs) and Income Generating Activity (IGA) groups.
As part of the measures to mark the International Day for Rural Women, ICI seeks to profile women in some of the communities we are working in. Women such as Mary and Felicia who are working in their own way to contribute towards child protection.
The theme, challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and empowerment of rural women and girls resonates with the exceptional work these women are doing in their communities.
They show on a daily basis what they can achieve in the area of child protection as they engage in awareness raising, agricultural activities and income generation activities to provide additional income for their families and adult education so they can gain some level of literacy.
Hannah Agyei is a middle aged woman living in Assin Nyinkyiso in the Assin North Municipality. She is a beneficiary of the ICI Reading and Numeracy class which is currently ongoing in her community. She is enthused about being able to read and write so she can read and adequately understand what she reads. She wants to be able to help her children and grandchildren with their school work.
According to Hannah,
“I joined the Literacy Class because I wanted to learn how to read and write. This is something that is very important to me. And I have realized that it is a big help. I have decided to be regular in my attendance to ensure that I am able to read, write and understand the English language by the end of the class.”
Felicia Asamoah is a middle age woman living in the Dossi Community in the Assin North Municipality. She is the first person to bring a school to her community which she has now handed over to the Ghana Education Service (GES). She is currently part of both the School Management Committee and Parents Teachers Association (PTA) in the community. Felicia has this to say about her contribution;
“As SMC members, we worked to ensure that all children in the community are in school. Our children now have better classrooms, school materials and are also benefiting from the School Feeding Program. We work with the Community Child Protection Committee (CCPC) members to ensure child protection is promoted. With the awareness created by the CCPC, we are playing our role in eliminating child labour from our community. Our aim is to ensure that the children who have now been brought back into the school system, as part of the community’s child labour monitoring efforts, will be well managed so they can remain in school.”
Mary Adoku is the Community Child Protection Club President in Mpaem in the New Jwabeng Municipality. Mary is the only female CCPC chairperson in the ICI direct implementation programme. Her committee members selected her to lead them based on her commitment to the work and ability to interact well with all community members during awareness raising sessions.
According to Mary,
“I was encouraged to become the CCPC president in my community because I want to ascertain that the futures of our children are improved. When we were trained by ICI, we realized that if we take our duties as CCPC members seriously, we can eliminate child labour from Mpaem.”