Education plays an essential role in tackling child labour, with research indicating that communities with improved access to quality education experience lower rates of child labour. This is why the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) is committed to ensuring that children in cocoa-growing communities get access to quality education.
As part of support to tackle child labour, ICI working with its members and partners, provides educational materials, furniture, and infrastructure for children in cocoa-growing communities. Hwiremoase Methodist Primary School, located in the Adansi Asokwa district in the Ashanti Region of Ghana is one of the schools to have received school desks from ICI last year. The school was struggling with a lack of desks, and on many occasions students were crowded onto one desk, which was affecting teaching and learning.
Suzzy Akoto, a student in class five had this to say: “Before, we struggled with crowded desks, but now we each have our own space. We can sit comfortably and write. No more standing up during exercises, no more rushing to share desks. It has made a huge difference for us. The desks are just the right size for us now, before, they were too short for my height. I even used to share a desk with three others, but now it is just two of us. It feels so much better, and we are more comfortable. “
Mr. Peter Mensah, a teacher in the school explained the situation before the school received the desks: “We used to waste a lot of time with the students taking turns to write, but now everyone can sit and focus. One student used to face extra challenges because of problems with his leg. Standing up was difficult for him, and sometimes he had to go home. But now, thanks to the new desks, he does not have to worry about that anymore.”
Peter further added that the provision of desks has not only improved writing but also helped increase the number of students who stay in school because they no longer have the excuse of not having a proper place to sit.
Florence Obeng, another student stated, “It was really hard for us to write properly, and when we had exercises to do, some of us had to stand while others sat to write. It was tough on our legs, and sometimes we would go home because it was uncomfortable. Now we can sit comfortably to write well during lessons.”
On World Education Day, we celebrate the power of positive change as Hwiremoase Methodist Primary School has become a much better place for children to learn and teachers alike, marking a step forward in the journey towards quality education for all.