Lessons on addressing child labor from the WCF Partnership Meeting

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

This is a guest post by Piera Waibel, Global Manager for FLA’s agriculture program.

The World Cocoa Foundation organized the 22nd Partnership Meeting & Roundtable Sessions in collaboration with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO on October 24-25, 2012 in Zurich.

I participated in a panel discussion on “Lessons on Addressing Child Labor from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana” along with Emmanuel Opuku, Deputy Director of the Ghana Cocoa Board; Darrell High from Nestlé; and Nick Weatherill from the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI).

The panel was moderated by Sona Ebai (World Cocoa Foundation), and discussed models being carried out by public and private sector entities to address child labor and monitor progress. Emmanuel Opuku highlighted national plans for the elimination of child labor in the cocoa sector, while Nestlé, ICI and FLA focused on child labor monitoring in Côte d’Ivoire, by emphasizing the new community-based child labor monitoring system Nestlé is implementing together with ICI in line with the action plan developed following FLA’s report on Nestlé’s cocoa supply chain.

Key takeaways from the panel discussion include:

  • It is important to build up sustainable monitoring systems, which are carried and owned by local actors (communities, farmers, cooperatives)
  • We must develop a common understanding and definitions about child labor, child work, and the worst forms of child labor to ensure consistent monitoring efforts
  • Monitoring is just a start, and will not solve the issues or eradicate child labor on its own. However, it does deliver a baseline to allow stakeholders to develop appropriate remediation activities
  • Monitoring should not be limited to a “yes-no” checklists, but rather should capture the reality and constraints of the farmers. Trust needs to be established between the monitors and the farmers so that they can paint a picture of the real situation at the local level
  • Support from local government and NGOs are necessary for remediation activities to take place
  • Monitoring systems need to be scalable with reasonable costs
  • The more thorough and detailed monitoring activities are, the more aware we become of the issues and risks facing farmers and workers.

Learn more about FLA’s work with Nestlé at www.fairlabor.org/affiliate/nestle.

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