MMDAs Child Labour

Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, has tasked the Municipal, Metropolitan and District Assemblies to be proactive in fighting the child labour menace in the communities.

He urged the Assemblies to collaborate with stakeholders in the implementation of modalities in relations to their sectors and mandate under the National Plan of Action Phase II (NAPII) for the elimination of worst forms of child labour.

In a speech read on his behalf at the launch of the National Plan of Action Phase II for the Elimination of Child Labour in Okonam community in the Eastern Region, Mr Awuah urged stakeholder institutions to mainstream relevant actions into their sectoral Plans and Monitoring and Evaluation Framework as well as their budgets and resource allocation schemes to ensure the success of the plan.

He said the latest International Labour Organization (ILO) Global estimates indicated that Africa has a fair share of the world’s child labourers, stating that globally, 2018 million children between 5-17 years were actively engaged in economic activities.

The Minister said in Ghana 21.8 per cent ( 1,892,553) of children were involved in economic activities, according to the 6th Round of the Ghana Living Standard Survey in 2014, of which 1,231,286, representing 14.2 per cent were engaged in hazardous work.

He said Ghana is a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals and Goal 8.7 entreated member countries to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition of worst forms of child labour.

Mr Awuah posited that strenuous efforts have been made since 2000 to establish a sustainable institutional framework comprising the Child Labour Unit and the National Steering Committee on Child Labour and its Sub-Committees consisting of all Key Ministers, Social Partners and Development Partners.

He stressed that the work of these partners had consolidated the visibility of child labour interventions and reinforced government commitment to effectively address the issue.

Madam Otiko Djaba, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection said every child welfare, care and development needed to be protected regardless of their sex, location, race or age since they have the right to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation, anywhere and at any time.

She said government has introduced free SHS to bridge the poverty gap since people who indulge in the act attributed the reasons to poverty, lack of job opportunities, and lack of access to available capital for small scale investment and among others.

She said section 16 of the Children’s Act entrusted the care and protection of all children in the hands of MMDAs, urging them to carry out their mandate in an efficient and effective manner without fear or favour.

“Child labour is cruel, exploitative and one of the most heinous crimes that can be perpetrated by any person or group of persons against children, and must be eradicated in the society. Child Labour steals the childhood, the human right and dignity of children and we must all be part of protecting each other by being vigilant and seeing children as our future leaders who will need to be nurtured to become Ghana’s next generation,” she added.

Madam Djaba urged parents to enrol and maintain their children in schools to acquire knowledge sine the right place for the child was the classroom where they will add on to the knowledge they have acquired from home.

Mr Giovanni Soledad, the Project Manager, ILO, under the Caring Gold Mining Project called for the need to understand sectoral dynamics and use area-based approach to address the menace of child abuse across the continent.

He also advocated child labour monitoring system to address the issue, saying the ILO remain committed to provide the needed support to the fight the canker.

Mrs Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Country Director, commended government for the initiative and expressed their commitment to build capacity of stakeholders to ensure monitoring at the local level and end child labour.

Nana Baffour Teinor IV, the chief of Okonam lauded government to launching the project in his community and pledged to ensure that all forms of child labourr in the area would be stopped.

He appealed to government to ensure the completion of the Junior High School building, toilet facilities and teacher’s quarters which had been abandoned over the years.

The NPA I (2009-2015) was developed as the initial consolidated and holistic approach of the nation to combat child labour especially in its worst forms. However significant progress was made in its implementation including enhanced coordination and improved synergies with stakeholders working to improve the well-being of children.

The NPA II consolidates the gains made under the Phase I and results in reducing it from the child labour prevalent rate from the current 21 per cent to 10 per cent by 2021.

It is a comprehensive and integrated intervention on child labour, addressing the fundamental issues such as poverty, ignorance, attitudinal negligence and law enforcement.

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