Enock Dery Pufaa - Programmes Director of Challenging Heights
Enock Dery Pufaa - Programmes Director of Challenging Heights

Child labour remains pervasive in Ghana — Challenging Heights

CHALLENGING Heights, in collaboration with three non-governmental organisations (NGO) partners in northern Ghana, has organised a durbar to commemorate the 2024 World Day Against Child Labour.


 The three NGOs are the Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS), the Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID) and the Centre for Communities Education and Youth Development (CCEYD).

The event, which took place in Tamale was on the theme: “Let's act on our commitments; End child labour”, and was attended by key stakeholders, religious and political leaders, community child protection committee members, teachers and students, among others. 

Child labour

The Programmes Director of Challenging Heights, Enock Dery Pufaa, observed that although Ghana had made commendable strides in the fight against child labour, it remained a pervasive social problem. 

He referred to the 2021 Population and Housing Census report, which estimated that approximately 230,000 children, or 3.2 per cent of those aged five to 14, were involved in economic activities, while research evidence available showed that there were two million children aged five to 17 engaged in child labour activities, with the situation being more prevalent in rural areas.

“Ghana’s problem is not the absence of laws, policies and frameworks to eliminate child labour. The problem has to do with enforcing the provisions of the policies and laws and that is why this year's theme is very relevant, reiterating the need to act beyond the commitments,” Mr Pufaa said. 

Social protection systems

He urged the government to strengthen its social protection systems and intensify its poverty alleviation efforts, stating that children were less likely to be forced into child labour due to basic needs deprivation if the government improved employment opportunities and income-generation capacities of families. 

“With 60 per cent of out-of-school children engaged in child labour, initiatives to enhance schooling were crucial to ending child labour,” he added.  

He further reaffirmed Challenging Heights’ commitment to the fight against child labour and urged all stakeholders and partners to give them the necessary support. 

Child protection

The Head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service, DSP William Ayaregah, in his remarks, drew the attention of participants to the laws on Child Protection in Ghana and the need for all to comply. 

He urged stakeholders to perform their mandated roles in the eradication of child labour and child trafficking.

“The government’s role in establishing policies, laws, and funding for anti-trafficking measures is essential. Doing so provides the basic legislative framework for which protection of children and punishment for offenders can occur,” Mr Ayaregah said and further noted that police personnel were integral in the fight against child labour, through enforcing the laws and regulations put forth by the government.  

Prevalence of child labour 

The Acting Director of the Northern Region Labour Office, Mustapha Alhassan, who represented the Director of the Child Labour Unit of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Esther Ofori Agyeman, expressed worry about the prevalence of child labour in northern Ghana. 

He observed that the prevalence rate of child labour in northern Ghana was four times the rate in the south and called for efforts to address the phenomenon.

Mr Alhassan also made an appeal to the government to resource agencies such as Social Welfare, the Labour Office, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), among others, working directly to combat child labour. 

Members of the Challenging Heights’s Child Rights Club used drama and poetry recital to depict and educate the participants on the issue of child labour, illustrating the intersectionality of poverty, parental neglect and child labour.

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