The International Labour Organization (ILO), in collaboration with the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), is dedicated to creating an effective action plan to combat child labor in agriculture using a Comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (CMEP).
During the ongoing three-day workshop in Akure, the Ondo state capital, Agatha Kolawole, the project director of Action against Child Labor in Agriculture in West Africa (ACLAWA), revealed the commitment to developing the Comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (CMEP) for the ILO Action against Child Labour in Agriculture in West Africa.
Participants in the workshop were drawn from diverse sectors, including labor unions, market women, farmers, security agencies, rural communities, public service, and the education sector.
Kolawole pledged ILO’s commitment to assisting the Ondo state government in eradicating child labor in agriculture by ensuring the effective implementation of the Comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (CMEP).
In Ondo State, a significant cocoa producer in Nigeria, the ACLAWA project led by Kolawole aims to eradicate child labor in cocoa farming. Despite facing obstacles such as limited and costly labor alternatives, the project envisions advancing the cocoa sector while safeguarding the welfare of children.
She said; “I would like to express sincere appreciation for the robust collaboration between the ILO and the Ondo State Steering Committee on Child Labour. This partnership has been pivotal, leading to significant achievements as seen in previous projects like ACCEL Africa. The project achieved giant strides!
“West Africa faces a significant challenge, with 72.1 million African children involved in child labor, including hazardous work, and nearly 23 per cent of West African children estimated to be in child labor, predominantly in rural areas and agriculture.
“While progress is evident, much work remains to eradicate child labor in West African agriculture. Addressing root causes like poverty, inadequate access to quality education, and the need for social protection and decent work opportunities for adults is crucial. Our collective commitment to ensuring every child’s rights to education, health, protection, and participation is paramount.
“While ensuring that the National Action plan is implemented, through the State Action Plan, as stated earlier, adequate social protection mechanisms and programs specifically targeted at vulnerable households at risks of child labour need to be put in place, especially in communities where workers of the lowest tiers reside, thereby reducing poverty for the parents/caregivers of these children and providing a safety net for the children themselves. As we all know that GALAB is working towards extending this social register to the vulnerable, ACLAWA will strive to support the access to social benefits.