The importance of awareness raising in cocoa-growing communities
Raising awareness of the dangers of child labour and the importance of education is an important part of the International Cocoa Initiative’s work. Working with our partners, ICI uses a variety of tools to get these messages across. These tools have been made available online to support the cocoa sector tackle child labour.
ICI uses awareness raising in its community development work and through its Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems. Below are a series of testimonies from community members who took part in awareness-raising sessions in partnership with Ghana’s Department of Children, under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development, in early 2020. ICI’s ‘Kweku and the Bird’ animation series was used to drive discussion around key themes of child protection and community empowerment. In total over 2,500 community members have been reached through this project.*
The importance of education
Mary Opuku, a cocoa farmer from Fiankoma community
“As parents, we have cocoa farms, that is our main occupation in Fiankoma, but our most profitable cocoa farms are our children. If you can support your children through their education, they will be of more benefit to you in future than the cocoa farm. Our farms can burn down, but the education we give to our children can never be burnt or lost.”
Esther Nkansah, a cocoa farmer from Nyame Adom community
“I have learnt a lot from the awareness raising today. I am illiterate and my husband is not a salaried worker. But our children don’t have to end up like us. We were ignorant about how to protect our children. We used to take them to the farm with us to help with the work. The awareness raising has made me realise that we must allow the children to study.
What I have learnt today is to let my children stay home after school. They can do their homework after they have had some food and rested. This will help put them at par with the children in the cities and town who don’t have to go to the farm after school.”
Godfred Nortey, Assembly Member for the Aframoase community
“As part of today’s programme, we were educated on child labour. We learnt that children should not be made to engage in work that is above their strength and age. We know that we must strive to do whatever it takes to educate our children so they can be profitable to us in future.
“We have realised that if we are able to come together as one people to practice what they brought to us, it will benefit our community and education in our community. It will also empower us to work hard to take care of our children to they can get a good education.
We have realised we must help the teachers to build our school. We were also introduced to the concept of the Community Child Protection Committee. Having such a committee here will help us in our lives and even in our personal development. The committee can help us progress and ensure a protective environment for our children.”
So, we have agreed to put into practise the knowledge we have gained today.”
Making Children Aware
Lincoln Greene, 12-year-old pupil from Aframoase DA Primary School
“I have realised that children must engage in age appropriate work. What I was doing was not good for me. I need to concentrate on my education because that is what will give me a good life in the future. I am aware I have to help my parents with the chores in the house and on the farm, but, it must not be something that is not age appropriate for me or puts me and my future at risk.”
*These training sessions were carried out prior to the implementation of social distancing measures in Ghana due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To learn more about ICI’s response please see here.