Fairtrade launches CIRCLE Project
Global trading movement, Fairtrade has launched the second phase of its protection system to safeguard children in cocoa growing areas of the country.
The Children In Rural Communities are Learning and Empowered (CIRCLE) project will focus on building the resilience of children to protect, report and advocate for their rights while empowering cooperatives to implement a child labour monitoring and remediation system.
“Fairtrade will ensure that CIRCLE supports the promotion of safe schools and community environments for children to thrive,” Mr Anthony Kwakugah, Senior Project Officer for Fairtrade Africa stated at the launch which took place last Friday at the AH Hotel in Accra.
He revealed that this second phase of Fairtrade’s initiative to curb child labour on cocoa farms will seek to have less children experience child protection valuations such as violence, abuse, exploitation, child labour and neglect.
“Our long term objective of CIRCLE, will strengthen child protection systems in the Asunafo North, Suhum and Ayensuano communities to adequately prevent, respond to and manage child rights and protection issues including child labour,” he noted.
He added that some key outcomes of CIRCLE will see a harmonized child protection system in place to monitor and remediate instances of child labour, children in cocoa growing areas are resilient, can protect themselves and advocate for their rights.
“CIRCLE will also bring about a safe environment to promote school enrolment, retention and completion,” he noted.
Mr Kwakugah said the project will be undertaken at all district levels where child protection platforms will be created to coordinate child protection interventions by the districts.
“We will also engage with the MDAs on their inclusion and implementation of child protection interventions while supporting the celebration of international day for the prevention of child abuse and child labour,”he added.
Launching the project, Mr Edward Akapire, Fairtrade West Africa Regional Head, noted that fairtrade veers off the conventional method of trade which is premised on profit to focus on people and earth the reason child labour is paramount for the movement.
“Child labour requires a collaborative effort, a collective effort of individual farmers, parents and the community to prevent it,” he stated.
An official of the child labour department of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Mrs Esther Ofori Agyemang called for more collaborations between Fairtrade and her outfit to nip child labour in the bud.
She advocated for a timely communication between the Ministry and Fairtrade to ensure the Ministry is always abreast of the activities of Fairtrade in order to provide the needed assistance to the NGO.
Fairtrade is a global movement which addressees the injustices of conventional trade by supporting smallholder farmers and workers to secure better terms of trade.
Fairtrade Africa, a member of the wider International Fairtrade movement represents Fairtrade certified producers in Africa and the Middle East.