The Rainforest Alliance, an international non-governmental organisation, and its implementation partner, Edmark Rescue Foundation, a community-based organisation (CBO), have organised a district-level stakeholder forum in Anyinam in the Atiwa East District. The forum, which was supported by the Norwegian government through NORAD, aimed to enhance the ongoing efforts of the Ghanaian government in addressing forced and child labour in the cocoa and mining industries. It is also part of a broader project that seeks to empower communities to ensure that companies and governments fulfilled their obligations in combating child and forced labour. Addressing the forum, Mr. Mesack Asare, the representative of the Atiwa East District Chief Executive, expressed appreciation for the efforts made by the NGO and its partners in combating child labour. He expressed delight about the progress in reducing child labour in the Atiwa East District, where such practices were prevalent and urged all stakeholders, particularly cocoa companies, to fulfil their commitments and actively contribute to achieving tangible outcomes. Mr. Damanka, the Executive Director of Edmark Rescue Foundation, commented on the over 12-month project implemented and said it has indeed lived up to expectations with positive outcomes that have benefited people living within various communities as well as contributed towards reducing child and forced labour. He also urged the district assembly to collaborate with the foundation and other NGOs with similar or different projects for the betterment of the people living in mining and cocoa communities. Mr. Damanka said, ‘I think I can see some enthusiasm on the part of the stakeholders-government companies, community leaders, and monitors-to contribute in diverse ways to reduce child and forced labour.’ ‘We all share in that vision of being part of the solution to contributing to the reduction of child labour.’ The Senior Project Manager, Mrs. Joyce Poku-Marboah, described the knowledge acquired by the communities as an asset that could never be taken away from them and should be utilised for their benefit. She encouraged the community volunteers to be pro-active and leverage the network they had built with cocoa companies, gold mining associations, and relevant government agencies at the district level through the quarterly dialogue. They should also lobby for interventions for the eradication of forced and child labour through continuous improvement.
Source: Ghana News Agency