The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) has called for a more concerted and feasible approach in dealing with the issue of child labour within the entire agricultural space of the country.
According to GAWU, about two-thirds of all child labour cases still occur in agriculture and its various sub-sectors – such as cocoa production, fishing, aquaculture and agroforestry, indicating that the situation renders child agricultural employees vulnerable while adults are deprived of employment opportunities in that area of the economy.
The Senior Programmes Offficer-GAWU (in charge of Ashanti & Brong Ahafo Regions), Paschal Ajongba Kaba, has underscored the importance of rolling out interventions to address the underlying demand and supply factors of poverty and education, while strengthening the legal frameworks for preventing exploitation of children and fostering coordination among responsible institutions to tame the awful practice.
“The particularly hazardous nature of agricultural work makes it crucially important to integrate child labour and youth employment concerns into the organising and bargaining agendas of worker-unions. GAWU is therefore committed to the tenets of decent work, and has an objective of creating and operating within child labour-free zones,” he stated.
It is against this backdrop that GAWU, he noted, has initiated interventions to tackle child labour, such as ‘Empowerment toward child labour-free zones at workplace and farms’ in various farming communities and schools. The project encompasses the formation of anti-child labour committees and clubs to campaign against the practice.
In one of such outings, GAWU as part of celebrating this year’s Farmers Day, organised a football competition for three selected basic schools at Kato in the Berekum Municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region. The Union also presented assorted items including uniforms, school-bags, exercise books, footballs and volleyballs to the schoolchildren.
The exercise underpins GAWU’s strategy of adopting sports in schools as a means of discouraging child labour in agrarian communities. The Union, Mr. Kaba indicated, seeks to keep children in school by supporting the needy ones as well as organising sporting activities to encourage them to stay in school through a combination of curricular and extra-curricular activities. He added that the children will be encouraged to form anti-child labour clubs (30 each per school) which will engage in exchange programmes with their peers across the country.