An independent evaluation conducted in Ghana in May and June 2009 found out that in ICI supported communities, there has been a significant reduction in the numbers of children involved in hazardous activities and many children are better protected and equipped with size appropriate tools for the farm work that they continue to do. In the same time, the evaluation team noted that parents, children and community leaders have a greater understanding of the relevance and importance of a school based education than they did in the past and this is reflected in increased enrolment and attendance rates (particularly at primary level), parents’ almost universal provision of school uniforms (estimated at over 90%) and community contributions to improving school facilities.
The overall purpose of the evaluation was to assess the impact to date of the ICI programme in Ghana to address the worst forms of child labour in cocoa growing through projects at community level, capacity building and policy development components. The evaluation has found that in ICI supported cocoa growing communities; there is a significant change in attitudes and behaviour, combined with a reduced exposure of children to hazardous labour. Read the summary report .
Actually, most children are no longer involved in spraying chemicals in cocoa farms, and only carry water to the farm a day before spraying. They no longer carry heavy loads but help out according to their strength and have stopped removing parasitic plants or weeding large areas of land. Importantly, the preliminary findings show increased enrolment and attendance rates in primary schools, combined with fewer dropouts for both boys and girls. Preliminary data analysis shows significantly improved school performance and highlights that the importance of education is better understood. It is not prohibited for children to help on the family farm. The evaluation shows that when children are helping out many parents now provide protective clothing footwear and proper supervision. To reinforce this change some communities have made local rules to protect children.
A change in labour practices to replace the use of children in cocoa farming has also been highlighted by the evaluation; practices such as the use of daily labour, caretaker farmers, use of friends, and traditional labour sharing techniques have all been adopted.