The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and the Ministry of Employment and
Social Welfare/National Programme for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Cocoa(MOESW/NPECLC) announced on Thursday, a cooperative agreement to formalize a collaboration with cocoa-producing communities to provide economic and social interventions and improve livelihoods.

WCF and MOESW/NPECLC have partnered in the past year in organizing community sensitization events, such as the program to commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour.

They recently worked together with COCOBOD to launch the “CocoaLink” programme which makes use of Ghana’s rapidly developing mobile phone infrastructure to reach Ghanaian cocoa farmers with productivity and child labour messages.

Such programs help increase farmer productivity while decreasing child labour in cocoa communities.

A Memorandum of Understanding between WCF and MOESW/ NPECLC signed at the WCF Partnership Meeting in Accra will provide the framework to guide the collaborative effort to develop and implement projects.

This work expands access to quality universal basic education; develops human resources through vocational training for youth and women; trains men and women farmers to grow cocoa more productively and profitably and mobilizes communities, district assemblies, the cocoa industry and other key stakeholders to work together to holistically address development challenges in cocoa-producing communities.

“The signing of this cooperative agreement with the World Cocoa Foundation will facilitate our partnership process and enable us achieve significant strides in our quest to ensure child labour free, economically thriving
cocoa farming households and communities,” said Hon E. T. Mensah, Minister of Employment and Social Welfare.

“Today marks a key milestone in our joint effort and we are pleased to join forces to implement programs aimed at improving the quality of life in cocoa communities.”

“Working with host governments to collectively empower cocoa communities through holistic and partnership-driven programs to develop human capital and enhance productivity will go a long way to accelerate the process of ensuring improved quality of life for men, women and children in cocoa-growing communities in Ghana,” said WCF President Mr. Bill Guyton.

“Ongoing World Cocoa Foundation programs such as the WCF ECHOES Alliance, the Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP) and the WCF Cocoa Livelihoods Program (CLP) have enjoyed tremendous support and collaboration from the government of Ghana through its key agencies such as the Ghana Cocoa Board, local government in the districts where we work and the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare which has culminated in this event today.”

Ghana, which has more than 700,000 cocoa farmers in the 69 districts of the 6 cocoa-growing regions has seen government, industry partners and international organizations contribute to addressing child labour in cocoa communities.

The Government programs, through direct interventions by the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare as part of the National Plan of Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, include the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring System (GCLMS), provision of school infrastructure, direct support to beneficiary school children in cocoa-producing communities and developing labour saving devices in partnership with the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG).

Since 2007, the World Cocoa Foundation’s education and youth livelihood program, WCF ECHOES Alliance, has worked with cocoa-growing communities in Ghana to create education opportunities for in-school and out-of-school youth thus enhancing the gold standard indicator measuring the reduction in child labour; namely, increased school attendance.

World Cocoa Foundation’s partnership with the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare’s National Program for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour will create the platform for sharing of best practices to continue to improve livelihoods in cocoa farming communities that contribute to a remarkable reduction in the Worst Forms of child labour in Ghana.