ICI in collaboration with the Social Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) early February launched awareness-raising campaigns in four districts about the Ministry’s Toll-Free Helplines of Hope Call Centre (numbers 0800 800 800 and 0800 900 900). The aim is to raise awareness about the existence of the service and encourage citizens in these districts (or victims themselves) to inform the helpline about cases of forced labour, human trafficking, or child abuse so that appropriate action can be taken, and support provided.

The four districts covered are Atiwa East, Atwima Mponua, Wassa Amenfi and Bibiani-Ahnwiaso-Bekwai. ICI in collaboration with the Social Protection Directorate of the MoGCSP developed Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials comprising posters, leaflets, flyers, and branded T-shirts. The materials are to be used by the Community Child Protection Committees in the forty project communities and the staff of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development (DSW&CD) to create awareness on the use of the Toll-Free Helpline of Hope.

The Ministry (MoGCSP) with the support of the World Bank established the Helplines of Hope Call Centre as a Single Window Citizens Engagement Services (SWCES) to receive calls from citizens who had information on, or were victims of, child abuse, rape, defilement, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child labour, forced labour, and the likes. Depending on the nature of the situation, the Call Centre redirects the case to the appropriate social service provider for the needed attention, action, and support, on a time-bound 24/7 basis with multilingual victim’s support.  

Under the NORAD-funded project focusing on tackling child labour and forced labour in Ghana’s cocoa and gold mining districts, ICI has been supporting the Helpline by providing training for staff, equipment, and now awareness raising support. For example, ICI trained staff of the Social Protection Directorate of the MoGCSP in child and forced labour to update their understanding of these concepts and the appropriate response when dealing with such a case, as different types of abuses require different responses (for example a forced labour case will not require the same type of response as a child doing hazardous tasks in a family setting). In addition to training, telephone equipment has also been provided to those involved to help the successful running of the service.  

Mr. Mamud Shakile, the District Coordinating Director for the Atiwa District was very pleased with the campaign and promised to spread the information to visitors who come to do business with the district. He said: “We are especially grateful to be part of the project. I assure you that my hardworking staff from the Department of Social Welfare will put the IEC materials to beneficial use to reduce the incidence of child and forced labour in our district.”

Mrs. Louisa Benon, the District Coordinating Director, In the Atwima Mponua District, was highly elated after the IEC materials were presented to her. She said, “Having received these materials, I want to be part of the campaign, I want some leaflets and flyers. I will present them to visitors who come to my office for official business to enable us all to be part of this campaign in eliminating child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in our district.”  

The staff from the District Social Welfare & Community Development in the four districts are expected to continue with the campaign via local radio stations by playing jingles to raise awareness on the Toll-Free Helpline of Hope.

Objectives of Creating Awareness Toll-free Hotline of Hope  

The toll-free Helpline of Hope serves as a major entry point for citizens who are victims or have come across cases of child labour, forced labour and human trafficking services to lodge their complaints on these cases and other social issues.  

Creating awareness on the toll-free Helpline of Hope will Increase its use in the four cocoa and gold-producing districts in the four regions of Ghana and beyond.

It will also provide an additional independent complaints collection mechanism on child labour, forced labour and human trafficking.