Mr. Bright Wireko-Brobbey, Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), has commended Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and NGOs for their continued advocacy roles in the elimination of child labour, especially in cocoa growing communities.
He said the government was very mindful of the contributions by CSOs and other partners in the areas of child welfare, in tackling the child labour menace in all sectors of the economy.
Mr Wireko-Brobbey was speaking at a sensitization durbar to mark this year's World Day Against Child Labour at Nkwankwaanua, a farming community in the Sekyere East District.
It was organized by the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) as part of efforts to bring and unite all key stakeholders on board to strengthen efforts to eliminate child labour in the cocoa value chain.
The event which was under the theme 'Consolidating efforts: "Children must work on dreams not in fields", was attended by officials from the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Chiefs, cocoa farmers, officials from the Ghana Education Service, the Ghana Police Service, CSOs, NGOs, school children and community leaders.
Mr Wireko-Brobbey said government was committed to the elimination of all forms of hazardous work, could affect the education, health, growth and development of children.
He called on farmers to show interest in the education and proper upbringing of their children and desist from engaging them in activities that would affect their growth and wellbeing.
Mr. Andrews Asamoah, Project Manager of ICI said the focus of ICI was to engage partners to ensure that cocoa growing communities were more conscious of the protection of children against child labour, particularly in the supply chain of cocoa in the country and beyond.
This had been done through the provision of school infrastructure such as classroom blocks, furniture, staff accommodation as well teaching and learning materials in communities in its operational areas.
Mr. Asamoah said 29 communities in the Ashanti, Western North, Central and Eastern regions were benefiting from ICI's initiative to ensure sustainable cocoa production devoid of child labour.
Ms. Elizabeth Akanbombire, the Assistant Chief Labour Officer at the MERL said the Ministry was working assiduously together with its partners to complete the review of the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring System by the end of August this year, in order to solidify efforts at eliminating worse forms of child labour in Ghana.
Madam Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, the Country Head of the Cocoa Life Program of Mondelez International said the Cocoa Life Program was focused on creating and strengthening community structures such as the Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs), School Management Committees (SMCs), Parents Teacher Associations (PTAs), among others in order to prevent worst forms of child labour.
Police Superintendent Asare Bediako, the Sekyere East District Commander assured of the readiness of the police service to help curb the menace, adding that, members of the public should not be afraid in reporting cases related to child labour and other child abuses to the police.