The role of leaders is key to ending child labor – GAWU

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Traditional authorities have been called upon to design and implement community by-laws on the eradication of child labor as a contribution to efforts towards a child labor free Ghana.

Regional Coordinator, Africa, of the Global March Against Child Labour, Andrew Addoquaye Tagoe, who launched the call for Torkor in Kpando Municipality during a meeting of community stakeholders, identified the chiefs as forces formidable in eradicating canker through their effective leadership roles in getting their subjects to comply with the various regulations within their jurisdiction.

Mr Tagoe said the essential roles of traditional authorities continued to pave the way for better community management and sustainability of initiatives and therefore urged chiefs to join us in helping end the threat.

More than 2,000 children have been removed from child labor, child trafficking, debt bondage and slavery-like practices in the fishing value chain in more than 10 communities along Lake Volta.

The rescue mission, launched by the Ghana Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trades Union Congress 12 years ago, also saw some 1,425 fishermen and farmers registered as GAWU members to further strengthen their compliance with child labor laws and to encourage adults. work and decent work.

Figures from the United Nations Children’s Fund indicate that of all Ghanaian children between the ages of 5 and 17, around 21% are involved in child labor and 14% in hazardous forms of work.

The law

Ghana is a signatory to several international labor conventions and treaties, including ILO Convention 182.

Section 89 of the Children’s Act 1998 (Act 560) provides appropriate age bands for admission to various categories of work, including light work for children under 13, employment (apprenticeship) in normal work for children aged 15 and over and hazardous work for adults aged 18 and over.

However, child labor is still endemic, especially in fishing on Lake Volta. Boys are involved in dangerous activities such as diving and disentangling fishing nets from underwater tree stumps while girls are engaged in processing and selling fish to the detriment of their education.

The Torkor model

GAWU, in the face of the phenomenon, collaborated with inland canoe fishermen, chiefs and some non-governmental organizations, among others, and began to experiment with various strategies to stop and eradicate canker by designing the three-pronged model of Torkor, continued to the successful implementation of strategies in Torkor, a fishing community in Kpando Municipality, now declared child labor free.

Mr Tagoe, who also serves as Deputy General Secretary, GAWU of the TUC, said strategies including organizing informal workers, social mobilization through awareness raising and capacity building and community sanctions and sharing knowledge, were designed and implemented with the financial support of the ILO. through the US Department of Labor, the Dutch Trade Union (FNV) and the Global March Against Child Labour.

The coalition has identified and so far rescued nearly 2,000 children from 10 fishing communities along Lake Volta, including Torkor, Dzigbe, Kpeyiborme and Torgorme, among others.

Strategies

He said Torkor’s success was based on advocacy born out of the community’s deep understanding of the concept of child labor, child labor and forced labor. The model has also led to the establishment of a number of classrooms for the community by fishermen at the Missahoe Children’s Orphanage in Kpando which opened its doors to over 100 rescued children.

Strategies including the training of professional divers to fill the manpower gap left vacant by rescued victims and the establishment of community child protection committees have also been implemented to ensure the maintenance and sustainability of the rescue program.

Challenges

He said the lack of resources, partisan politics, leadership disputes and critical issues such as the loss of knowledge that occurred following the transfer of a teacher who had been trained to provide victims of child labour, among others, continued to argue against the holistic implementation of the program which was built primarily around collaborative efforts.

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