GOVERNMENT AND LWR COLLABORATE TO COMBAT CHILD LABOR IN COCOA FARMS

Date:

The Federal Government has joined forces with the Lutheran World Relief (LWR) to address the pressing issue of child labor within the cocoa value chain. Approximately 1.56 million children are currently engaged in hazardous labor on cocoa farms, which severely impacts their health, education access, and future prospects.

The collaborative effort, known as the Child Labour Education and Resilience (CLEAR) project, was launched in Ondo State. Over the course of one year, from October 2023 to September 2024, the project will focus on the Idanre and Ifedore local government areas. Its objectives include tackling the root causes of child labor, empowering communities with limited awareness, improving income from cocoa farming, and equipping children with essential life skills.

Nene Akwetey-Kodjoe, the Chief Of Party for Lutheran World Relief, emphasised the project’s commitment to ensuring that children in these communities are not subjected to hazardous labor conditions in cocoa production.

The initiative has garnered support from various entities like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Ondo State Government, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, and International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Adeola Adegoke, President of CFAN, stressed the importance of producing cocoa that is free from child labor and deforestation; expressing support for the timely intervention brought by Lutheran World Relief. He said the project aligns with Ondo State’s goals of increasing cocoa production while adhering to international standards and eliminating child labor.

Representatives from the Ondo State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment echoed their commitment to ensuring the success of the project. They emphasised the need for collaboration among stakeholders to achieve the set targets within the designated timeframe.

Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, speaking at the project launch, underscored the state government’s dedication to addressing the plight of vulnerable children, both on cocoa farms and on the streets of Akure. He commended the efforts of Lutheran World Relief in organising the program and reiterated the state’s commitment to combating child labor.

During the presentation of the CLEAR project, Olawale Awoyemi, Deputy Chief Of Party for Lutheran World Relief, highlighted the challenges in implementing policies to eliminate child labor due to funding constraints and capacity limitations within government departments. He outlined the project’s objectives, which are raising awareness among stakeholders, improving the socio-economic status of parents, and fostering entrepreneurship among children through vocational clubs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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