A group photograph of media persons and facilitators at the Human Rights Due Diligence Trainer of Trainers Workshop in Koforidua
About Twenty journalists drawn from various media houses across the country have been trained on the proper way of reporting on issues about Children who are involved in chores on farmlands and plantations.
At a six day trainer of trainers workshop in Koforidua which was sponsored by Norad, a Norwegian government agency and supported by Rainforest Alliance, main project partner as well as Solidaridad and International Cocoa, who are the main implementing partners, the media persons were introduced to models in the Human Rights Due Diligence Toolkit aimed to identify, prevent and address forced labour and child labour issues.
The training also highlighted the need for stakeholders in the agric industry especially cooperatives to be intentional about issues of gender in achieving the ultimate goal.
Speaking to the mdedia after the training workshop, Mr Stephen Ashia, Facilitator and Resource Person from Rainforest Alliance said the initiative was to assist the media and other participants on how to navigate and apply the gender sensitive Human Rights Due Diligence Toolkit with the farmer cooperative or gold mining associations at community level.
The facilitator noted that training sessions had also been undertaken for farmer groups and associations as well as non-governmental organisations and civil society groups on child labour issues.
These training, he noted included how the farmers could use their children and dependents to help on farmlands by giving them light work that could not be considered as child labour.
Mr Ashia said the initiative had identified that poverty was main reason many were using their children to run errands on the farm as a way to cut labour costs.
“We’ve realised that poverty is the main issue making farmers use their children to undertake ventures that were child labour related but now we’ve imparted knowledge that no matter what children should not be forced or used for chores beyond their strengths on the farm”, the Facilitator stated.
Mr Ashia rallied government agencies in the Agric sector to take interests in making the work of farmers easier so as to reduce the incidences of child labour.
He called on Cocobod to have a relook at services they render including the rates they give to farmers for the production of cocoa.
He noted that labour costs in cocoa production was getting high and so it creates the temptation for farmers to want to use their dependents particularly children to work on their farms.
“I would appeal to Cocobod that they pay at least GHC 2000.00 for a bag of cocoa so that farmers could pay for labour costs and help to reduce the incidences of child labour”, Mr Ashia suggested.
Source: Ghana/otecfmghana.com/Michael Ofosu-Afriyie, Kumasi.