Many precautionary restrictions that had to be imposed during the partial Covid-19 lockdown were lifted in June. Child labour monitoring under ICI’s Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems continued thereafter in the same 263 communities that were covered by this study, and data collected during the months of July, August and September 2020 show no significant difference in child labour identification rates compared with the average rates over the same period in previous years.
Earlier this year the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) analysed data from 263 communities in Côte d’Ivoire to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child labour. In these communities, 1,443 cocoa-growing households were visited under ICI’s Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) between 17 March and 15 May 2020 to identify cases of child labour. ICI’s findings showed that the percentage of children identified in child labour was higher during this two-month period, at 19.4%, compared to 16% in the same months in the same communities in previous years. This corresponds to a 21.5% increase in child labour identification.
To re-assess the situation after the end of the partial lockdown, ICI compared cases of hazardous child labour identified by the CLMRS during July to September 2020, in the same communities, with those identified in the same period of previous years (2016 to 2019). For the post-lockdown period, the data shows hazardous child labour rates which are indistinguishable from previous years’ levels for the time-period in question. This suggests that child labour risk has returned to expected levels for the season.
Continued analysis of the situation into the last quarter of 2020 will help us to better understand and contextualise the trends observed. ICI will continue to monitor the situation, as well as to work closely with authorities, communities, industry and civil society to provide support to vulnerable children in cocoa-growing communities.