ICI rolls out pilot cash transfer to curtail child labour

 A Cash transfer system dubbed “Remediation programme” to curtail child and forced labour in cocoa producing communities in Gha­na has been rolled out by the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), a Swiss-based non-gov­ernmental organisation that works to ensure a better future for children in cocoa-growing communities.

The nine-month pilot remedi­ation system, which took off early this year, provides GH¢ 350.00 per month to each household, numbering over 1,000.

Beneficiary communities in­clude Sankore, Breman Asikuma, Suhum, Akim Oda and Asamank­ese.

In a household where there is a child going to Junior High School, there is an addition­al GH¢30.00, but if the child attends a Senior High School, GH¢50.00 is added.

The nine-month pilot pro­gramme follows the success of an earlier six-month pilot programme where GH¢280.00 was offered to 703 cocoa farming households every month to help improve their incomes and also cushion them against the shocks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Deputy Country Director and Programmes Director of ICI, Prince Gyamfi, disclosed these to the Ghanaian Times during training for some selected journalists who were into agricultural reporting.

The ICI collaborated with the Ghana Agriculture and Rural De­velopment Journalists Association (GARDJA) to build the capacity of journalists in reporting on child and forced labour.

It was under the auspices of the NORAD-funded “Tackling Child /Forced Labour in Gha­naian Cocoa and Gold Mining” and implemented by ICI and its partners, Rainforest Alliance and Solidaridad West Africa.

Mr Gyamfi pointed out that though the six-month pilot project was started in 2019, the money was released in 2020 for disbursement in 2021.

Some of the households, he observed, used the money to sup­port their farming activities, open or expand their shops to improve their incomes; others used the money to buy health and other basic needs to keep their families healthy.

“But the bottom line is after the programme, they had enrolled their children in schools, I hope the new project would equally open more doors for children of school going age for school enrolment,” he remarked.

He said there were no strings attached to the money given out to them, but “they saw the importance of getting their children into schools by using the proceeds”.

The nine-month programme, he said, has a village savings and loans association intervention for the women to make them take greater care of their families.

“We’re supporting farmers to improve their income activities which include helping farmers to form village saving and loan associations and also helping them to diversify their incomes,” he added.


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