Labour officers and inspectors of the Labour Department of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations from cocoa-producing regions (Ashanti, Central, Western, Western North, and Eastern) in Ghana have participated in an interactive workshop organised by the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) under the NORAD-funded project “Tacking Child and Forced Labour in Ghanaian Cocoa and Gold Mining Sectors”. The project dubbed in the Ghanaian local Twi language as ‘Yen Ne Mmofra no Nti’ project, literally meaning, “For the sake of our posterity” seeks to build the socio-economic resilience of cocoa farmers, including women and vulnerable people, in Ghanaian cocoa and gold-mining communities and to protect them against forced and child labour.
The training was aimed at strengthening the capacity of the participants to be able to handle cases of child and forced labour they identify in their districts and regions.
Among the participants were newly recruited labour officers and inspectors. Participants were taken through the concepts of child and forced labour, their roles as labour officers in tackling these issues, and technical skills needed for data collection and the identification and prevention of child and forced labour. Other key areas of learning included skills in interviewing children and inspections of working environments.
Alex Awotwi, Acting Chief Labour Officer and Head of the Labour Department mentioned that the Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and in collaboration with other development partners is making strenuous efforts to fight child labour. He believed that to win this fight, the capacity of staff in the regions and districts has to be strengthened, underlining the importance of this training.
Festus Kwame Kwadzokpo, ICI’s Project Manager for ‘Yen Ne Mmofra no Nti,’ project stressed the importance of the training to the Labour Department since it is the government institutions at the forefront of handling child and forced labour cases in cocoa and gold mining in Ghana. He also underlined the relevance of the engagement and capacity strengthening of public sectors to assist government and local authorities to identify needs and strengthen systems to prevent and address child labour and forced labour risks.
The workshop which took place in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana is one of the several workshops organised by ICI as part of the project’s objective to train government and social protection service providers who are major stakeholders in the elimination of child and forced labour in Ghana. The International Cocoa Initiative is working in partnership with Rainforest Alliance and Solidaridad to implement this project.