Rainforest Alliance, in partnership with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and Solidaridad Ghana with funding from NORAD, is helping farmer cooperatives implement a human rights due diligence system that commits its leadership and members to a culture of respect for human rights.
This forms part of a drive for their ‘Yen Ne Mmofra No Nti’ tackling forced and child labour project, under which Cocoa Mmaa cooperative piloted the gender-sensitive tool that Rainforest Alliance developed.
The comprehensive tool sheds more light on issues of child labour, forced labour, gender equality, workplace violence, and harassment, among other human rights issues.
The tool helped identify vulnerable people at risk and involved victims of child labour and forced labour, for which remediation items have been provided to 39 residents from Kyensendaho, Babianiha, Achiase, Abudukrom, Antwikrom, Teacherkrom, Kontokrom, Buabin, Soboroso, and Kwameprakrom of the Dunkwa cocoa district in the Western South cocoa region.
The remediation items, which include school bags, exercise books, pens, pencils, bicycles, solar chargers, uniforms, and some other items, were handed over to the identified children to go back to school and to their parents to help them start their own businesses to access additional income streams aside from cocoa farming.
The founder of the Cocoa Mmaa Farmers’ Cooperative, Leticia Ama Kowoa Yankey, explained that they are focusing on improving the living conditions and health status of people in under-served cocoa farming communities.
She advised beneficiaries to embrace the culture of respect that is enshrined in the HRDD system so as to eradicate child labour and avoid practices that will jeopardise the future of the children.
“I have learned that practising child labour will not give us a good standing in selling our cocoa in the international market,” said Yankey.
“I want to charge the cooperative leaders to do peer-to-peer education on child labour among themselves and also among residents of the community,” she added.
There will be monitoring done to make sure the items are being used for the intended purposes.
Yankey emphasised, “The community and our leaders really appreciate the support we’re getting from Rainforest Alliance and its partners.”
“Let me also use the opportunity to also thank ‘Better Than Cash-Digitalization’ for also supporting us with mobile phones and solar chargers.”
The Cocoa Mmaa founder expressed gratitude to Rainforest Alliance’s Senior Project Manager, Joyce Poku-Marboah, and the Monitoring & Evaluation Associate, Alvin Adu-Asare, who were instrumental in the implementation of the HRDD pilot.
Chief of Buabin, Abokomahene Twifu Buabin, Nana Okoforobour I, beneficiaries, and Buabin Electoral Area Assemblyman, Benjamin Obeng, expressed their appreciation to Cocoa Mmaa, Rainforest Alliance, and their partners for coming to the aid of these vulnerable individuals and the community at large.
“We are very happy, believing God that if we are able to do as led, we would be able to raise money to feed our families and train others to also become self-sufficient,” they said.
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