A survey conducted by Child Rights International (CRI), a civil society organisation committed to promoting children’s rights, has shown that over 2,092 children in Ghana are exposed to high risks as a result of child labour.
This includes thousands of child labourers from age five to 17 working in small and unlicensed dangerous mines (galamsey) in parts of the country who are at risk of injury, poisoning and death, as well as the type of work involving those working on cocoa farms, domestic servitude, street hawking, cattle herding and carting of heavy loads otherwise known as “Kayayei”.
Briefing the press on the outcome of the research as part of its Child Protection Accountability series, the Executive Director of CRI, Mr Bright Appiah said the study carried out by the organisation also showed that the children’s involvement in “galamsey” was a threat not only to their life but to the country as well, since “we stand the risk of losing great leaders and increase children’s vulnerability to diseases due to the pollution of the environment by this act”.
According to Mr Appiah, with the use of the Ghana Child Labour Minitoring System, the CRI had undertaken two surveys in its operating areas to help identify children at risk of child labour, to systematically collect, analyse and report on child labour/protection issues in the communities, as well as within the supply chain.
The first survey was done in selected communities in three districts namely Asunafo South, Ahafo Ano North and Atwima Mponua, while the second was done in five districts with respect to the households of a particular farmer group in Ahafo Ano North, Ahafo Ano South, Asutifi North Asutifi South and Bibiani.
He recalled that in the past weeks, the government had been working intensively to bring galamsey to a halt, describing it as a good initiative.
He, however, pointed out that in doing so, attention should be given to social and child protection issues in mining areas.
A team of officials undertaking the survey visited various households in the mining areas in selected communities that were surveyed and each household visited showed that there was a family member who was involved in illegal mining and 30 children were identified working constantly in “galamsey”.
He said out of the selected communities that were covered under the survey, a total of 1,547 children were identified under the selected households and out of that, 987 were between the ages of 5 to 17 years with 765 of them involved in child labour and hazardous work.
Mr Appiah, however, proposed that the government should take the appropriate steps to investigate the condition of children and households of families for appropriate steps to be taken to support their welfare since at the end of the investigation, the families and children identified would be put under maintenance and rehabilitation programmes for effective integration into society.
The executive director called on the government to give maximum attention to social protection programmes in handling and curbing galamsey activities and also urged Ghanaians to support the government to eradicate the act and create an environment worthy of living for all.
Mr Bright Appiah, Executive Director of CRI