The Child Labour Unit under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR) in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) and its Stakeholders have undertaken a two (2) day forum at the Coconut Groove Hotel in Accra to review the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring System (GCLMS).

The GCLMS, which was instituted in 2010 is a holistic and dynamic process for monitoring all forms of Child Labour, especially its Worst Forms. It also placed emphasis on direct observation, repeated regularly to identify victims of Child Labour and to determine the various risks of which they were exposed to, refer them to satisfactory and sustainable alternative services and also track them to ensure they do not return to the previous position.

The remit of the review is to ensure that the system is more robust, sustainable, user friendly and responsive to current realities and to needs of the country.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Sector Minister, Hon. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, said the system was piloted by government in 25 communities in six selected districts under the National Programme for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Cocoa. He disclosed that the final reports identified some challenges and gaps, and made recommendations for a review to include tools and the processes.

He explained that the review would contribute to the high level of efficiency and functionality and ensure the full utilization of the system by all stakeholders. It would identify those at risk and those in engaged in all forms of abuses, and the intervention and services available for referral.

Additionally, he said the review process would help meet the requirement of Action contained in the Phase II of the National Plan of Action (NPA II) for  the Elimination of the Child Labour (NPA II:2017- 2021). The requirement calls for the GCLMS which will be linked to the Common Targeting Mechanism and other existing Social existing Social Protection Interventions like the Ghana National Household Registry (GNHR).

Madam Gifty Twum Ampofo, the Hon. Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection called for strengthened stakeholder collaboration to address Child Labour and Trafficking. She recalled that the  Child Labour composite of the six round of the Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS 6)  had indicated an increase in the menace among children aged between 5 and 17 to 1.89 million  compared to the previous figure of 1.27 million in 2003. She called on all and sundry, especially the private sector to partner government in resourcing the Child Labour Unit with funding and logistics to function effectively.

Solidarity messages came from the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA), United Nations International Children’s Emergency (UNICEF), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Ghana National Coalition on the Right of Children (GNCRC). They called for the commitment and efficient leadership from the government in the area of data collection, and the consolidation of numerous and scattered monitoring systems and social intervention programmes to ensure accurate data on Child Labour in Ghana.