Madam Frema Osei-Opare, the Chief of Staff (3rd left), leading other dignitaries to pledge their support in ending child labour. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY
Madam Frema Osei-Opare, the Chief of Staff (3rd left), leading other dignitaries to pledge their support in ending child labour. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY

Ghana rolls out plan to deal with child labour


Ghana has rolled out a second National Plan of Action (NPA 2) to boost its momentum to effectively deal with eliminating the practice of child labour, a danger that has compromised the health and safety of children of school age in the country.


The GH¢2.7-million action plan, which is expected to complement the shortfalls in the NPA 1, has a life span of four years (2017-2021) and there is currently resource mobilisation going on to ensure its effective implementation.

Child Labour Day
Some of the objectives in the NPA 1 (2009-2015), such as the development of labour saving tools for children to go to school, were not implemented and the NPA 2, which is yet to be developed, will correct the failures in the previous action plan.

As Ghana joined the rest of the world to mark the World Day Against Child Labour at a national policy durbar in Accra yesterday, stakeholders in the labour industry underscored the need for the Cabinet to expeditiously approve the NPA 2 to set the policy in motion.

Representatives from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Ghana Employers Association (GEA), Child Rights International, The Netherlands Embassy and other child interest-based organisations were at the durbar to lend their support to the campaign to eliminate child labour from Ghana, in particular, and Africa as a whole.

The global theme for the commemoration was: “In conflicts and disasters, protect children from child labour”, but the local theme was: “In conflicts and disasters, protect children from child labour: Mobilising resources for the effective implementation of NPA 2”.

All hands on deck
The Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, who delivered the keynote address, appealed for support for the implementation of the NPA 2, arguing that the menace called for a concerted effort from stakeholders to end it.

Mrs Osei-Opare, when she was a Deputy Minister at the then Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment in the Kufuor administration, had in her office a programme designed by the government at the time to eliminate the child labour menace, known as the National Programme for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Cocoa (NPECLC).

The NPECLC was a government mechanism set up for eliminating children used in hazardous activities in the cocoa sector but the programme has currently collapsed due to lack of funds.

While pledging the government’s support for the implementation of the NPA 2, Mrs Osei-Opare said combating child labour required a comprehensive plan with coordinated action from stakeholders.

Child labour in Ghana
According to the Ghana Living Standards Survey Child Labour Report 2014, there is child labour in every region of the country, with every child directly affected and more than one in 10 (14.2 per cent) engaged in hazardous work.

The report established that apart from the Greater Accra and the Central regions, each region has more than 20 per cent of children as victims and that the menace was endemic in many local communities, especially in deprived ones.

It further established that completion rates in basic education decreased for primary and junior high schools in 2013/14, while retention rates were stagnant.

Campaign launch
The Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Bright Wireko-Brobby, at the durbar, launched what is known as ‘Chance for change campaign’ for children in the drive to campaign against child labour.
He attributed the difficulties in implementing the NPA 1 to lack of resources and expressed optimism that the NPA 2 would largely correct the challenges that bedevilled the previous action plan to ensure its successful implementation.

He assured the stakeholders that the government would implement all existing programmes relating to child labour to ensure that the canker was nipped in the bud.

The Deputy Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress, Mr Joshua Amoah, called on the government to urgently revive the NPECLC and demanded an investigation into who caused its collapse, including a financial audit to regain donor confidence.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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