Labour Organisation Tackles Child Labour In West African Agriculture With New Monitoring Plan

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News in brief:

– The International Labour Organization is working with the US Department of Labour on a plan to combat child labour in agriculture, particularly in West Africa.
– This initiative involves diverse stakeholders and aims to strengthen existing efforts, with a focus on Nigeria’s Ondo state’s cocoa farming and addressing rot causes.

In a concerted effort to combat child labour in agriculture, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) are spearheading the development of a Comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (CMEP).

This plan, according to details from a news report, aims to strengthen existing initiatives and track progress in eradicating child labor, particularly in West Africa.

The commitment to developing the CMEP was announced during a three-day workshop in Akure, Nigeria. Agatha Kolawole, Project Director of the ILO’s Action against Child Labour in Agriculture in West Africa (ACLAWA) project, highlighted the importance of collaborative action. Participants from diverse sectors including labour unions, farmers, communities, and government agencies engaged in discussions aimed at crafting a comprehensive strategy.

Kolawole expressed the organisation’s dedication to supporting the Ondo state government in eradicating child labour in agriculture through effective implementation of the CMEP. This is particularly crucial for Ondo, a major cocoa producer in Nigeria, where the ACLAWA project focuses on eliminating child labour in cocoa farming despite challenges like limited and expensive labour alternatives.

Furthermore, acknowledging past successes, Kolawole commended the collaboration between the ILO and the Ondo State Steering Committee on Child Labour. She attributed it to significant achievements like those under the ACCEL Africa project.

However, she emphasised the magnitude of the work that is left, with an estimated 72.1 million African children engaged in child labour, particularly in rural areas and agriculture.

Additionally, she urged for a multi-pronged approach to address the root causes of child labour, emphasizing the need for poverty reduction, improved access to quality education, and robust social protection programs for vulnerable families. Achieving this, she said, requires prioritizing children’s right to education, health, protection, and participation.

While implementing the National Action Plan through State Action Plans, Kolawole stressed the importance of establishing targeted social protection mechanisms for vulnerable households at risk of child labour. This, she believes, will reduce poverty for parents and caregivers, creating a safety net for their children. ACLAWA, she assured, will support access to social benefits through collaboration with the GALAB initiative, which works towards extending social registers to vulnerable populations.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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