11 June 2010

Ghana to Eliminate Child Labour By 2015

The government of Ghana has put together a National Plan of Action aimed at eliminating the worst forms of child labour in the country by 2015, a year before the stipulated deadline by UNICEF.

The plan was outdoored as part of activities marking the 2010 World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) in Ghana.

Leading in the implementation of the plan is the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare (MESW) and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWAC). Other Social Partners include the Ghana Journalist Association, International Labour Organisation (ILO/IPEC).

The plan identifies 9 activities as constituting the worst forms of child labour which ought to be eliminated within the shortest possible time. These include Child Trafficking, Fishing, Mining and Quarrying, Ritual Servitude and Commercial Sexual exploitation. The rest are Child Domestic Servitude, Porterage of heavy loads, Agriculture (Cocoa, cattle herding, oil palm, cotton, crop and vegetable farming), Street hawking and begging.

According to the ILO, there are 215 million children in Child Labour, 115 of whom are in hazardous work.

Majority of these children have no access to education. It is a fact that their rights are abused more often and they have no access to the Media to lodge complains.

Those who try to complain are punished and those who stay with the abusers are driven out of the house. And the worst of all is that some of these innocent children are being asked to work to pay for the debts of their parents and other family members.

The theme for this year's celebration of World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL):"Ghana go for the goal: End Child Labour".

"Every child has the right to be protected from engaging in works that constitutes a threat to his health, education or development", according to Article 28(2) of the 1992 Republican Constitution.

Madam Stella Offori, the Principle Labour Officer, Child Labour Unit of the Labour Department, during the official launch in Accra presented to the gathering the overview of the National Plan of Action for the elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL) in Ghana by 2015.

In her report, she mentioned that the main goal of the NPA is to reduce the worse forms of child labour to the barest minimum by 2015, while laying strong social, politics and institutional foundations for the elimination and prevention of all other forms of child labour in the longer term.

As part of the national plan is a 35-member National Steering Committee on Child Labour which is the highest body to oversee the overall coordination of the NPA.

Also, implementation of the plan will be decentralized. Ministries, Dapartments and Agencies as well as Metropolitan, Municpal and District Assemblies and Civil Society Organisations will prepare and carry out their own action plans within the framework offered by the national plan.

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