The Adansi North District Assembly (ANDA) has launched a project, which has declared the district as a Child Labour Free Zone to ensure the elimination of child Labour, and make responsible parenting a priority for parents.
The declaration is part of the ANDA resolve to eliminate child labour in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with its programmes funded by the US Department of Labour.
The launch also saw the inauguration of a committee, which is tasked to work with approved byelaws to ensure the successful implementation and achievement of the project results.
District Chief Executive (DCE) of ANDA, Mr Kusi Kwaku Eric, in his address to launch the project, said child labour has, over the years, been an issue of national and international concern and has brought together leaders of various nations to finding solution to the menace.
He said section 16 of the Children’s Act entrusts the care and protection of all children in the hands of metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) and to ensure that this mandate is carried out, the ANDA has joined the fight for children against the menace of child labour.
Mr Eric said the United Nations (UN) defines child labour as any work that deprives children of their childhood, potential and dignity.
That, he said, refers to works that are mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interfere with their education by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school, obliging them to leave school prematurely, or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
Mr Eric said it was obvious from the above that child labour was 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 “eliminated in our societies.”
He said child labour steals the childhood, the human right and dignity of children and must be eliminated, and that factors responsible for the perpetuation of child labour included irresponsible parenting, children born out of wedlock and children with no parents and relatives among others.
The DCE said, according to the ILO, lack of meaningful alternatives such as affordable schools and quality education was another major factor driving children to harmful labour.
He, therefore, called on Ghanaians to support the New Patriotic Party government led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, which has demonstrated commitment to social interventions.
According to Mr Eric, the Akufo-Addo administration has adopted comprehensive policies to reduce poverty, Increase access and enrollment and improve the quality of education to ensure progress in “our efforts to deal with child labour.”
He said the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education, the Capitation Grant and the School Feeding programme, were some of the interventions adopted to increase school enrolments and alleviate the economic burden of parents.
“The introduction of the free Senior High School (SHS) policy bridges the poverty gap since parents who force their children to engage in child labour attribute the reasons to poverty, lack of job opportunities, and lack of access to available capital for small-scale investment.”
Project Director Giovanni Soledad of ILO Caring Gold Mining Project, Mr Emmanuel Kwame Mensah, said Ghana has realised that child labour was a challenge and that government through its institutions was leading a national crusade against the menace and was making progress, which the ILO has recognised its efforts.
He said there was a notional action plan on the elimination of the worst form of child labour led by the ministry of employment and labour relations together with the ministries of gender, children and social protection, education, local government and rural development, fisheries and land and natural resources.
Mr Mensah said data available at the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in 2014 revealed that one out five children in the country were involved in child labour activities bringing the number to 1,890,000.
The project coordinator said there was a strong child labour monitoring systems aimed at eliminating the menace and that there was the need to improve on the enforcement mechanism of the country law to deal with culprits.
He, therefore, called on institutions mandated to mitigate child labour to strengthened and build the capacity of its staff to be able to fight the menace.
Source : Kwamena ANANSE/Todaygh.com