The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) has called for a central coordination of data by public and private institutions to ensure efficient implementation of child labour interventions.
It, therefore, called for more collaboration between the private and public sectors to ensure child labour monitoring and remediation systems that would feed data into the national database to increase the depth, utility and visibility of national statistics on child labour.
The ICI is a Non Governmental Organisation interested in protecting children against worst forms of child labour. It said the private sector should work hand-in-hand with the local authorities and other government agencies that are implementing the School Feeding Programme and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty so that the right children and people received the benefit.
Mr Mike Arthur, the National Coordinator for the ICI, made the call at the launch of the Second Phase of the National Plan of Action in Accra to eliminate all worst forms of child labour.
He said effective collaboration would ensure better protection for children, particularly the vulnerable ones against child trafficking, child pornography, and all forms of hazardous activities as enshrined in the Children’s Protection Acts.
Mr Arthur said his outfit had established 304 community child protection committees, community service groups and income generating activities to provide alternative sources of income for cocoa farmers so that children of school-going age would be in school.
He said the ICI’s Child Safeguarding Policy would ensure zero-tolerance for all forms of child neglect, sexual, emotional and physical abuses and any form of exploitation. Mr Arthur said the Initiative had supported the training of community members to carry out awareness and monitoring of worst forms of child labour to curb the phenomenon.
Again, it had instituted community child protection committees and child protection clubs to ensure the development and welfare of children. ‘‘An unprotected child is a potential high risk to our communities and the nation so it is important for everyone to own the responsibility to ensure the future of all children in our country.
‘‘We believe that there shouldn’t be any compromise in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children so that they will grow up to become responsible adults who would contribute their quota towards the development of the nation,’’ Mr Arthur said.
He said children should be protected with the involvement of the community members since they play a pivotal role in nurturing them to become responsible adults.