Progress in Addressing Child Labor in the Olam Cocoa Supply Chain in Côte d Ivoire

An Analysis of Beneficiaries’ Perceptions

Olam, one of the world’s largest suppliers of cocoa beans, has allocated resources to a Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) to improve its child labor monitoring and data management system. The goal of the CLMRS is to reduce child labor on the cocoa farms from which Olam sources.

To better evaluate if Olam’s CLMRS in Côte d’Ivoire is helping the company meet its requirement under FLA standards to eradicate child labor, FLA piloted an assessment methodology to measure the perceived impact among local stakeholders. Data from three cooperatives and eight communities participating in Olam’s CLMRS were compared to a control group (one cocoa cooperative and two communities) where Olam has not yet implemented a CLMRS.

FLA interviewed 451 people including producers, family members of producers, community stakeholders such as local school authorities, women’s associations, and village leaders. In this assessment, FLA went beyond an audit-based compliance methodology and evaluated whether the cocoa farmers, workers, and their families perceived a benefit from Olam’s interventions. The evaluation included their perceptions of whether the CLMRS has resulted in a reduction in child labor.

FLA found that Olam’s CLMRS is helping to raise awareness about child labor and providing additional incremental benefits to families producing cocoa.

  • 72%

    of producers believe that child labor is decreasing in their communities.

  • 80%

    of producers knew that people younger than age 16 should not be hired and that parents are required to send children to school.


  • Child labor monitoring and sensitization, provision of school kits (that include uniforms, books, and supplies), and facilitation of birth certificates were considered the most effective interventions to reduce child labor.
  • Seventy-two percent of interviewed producers believe that child labor is decreasing in their communities.
  • Greater results could be accrued by including the wives of producers in awareness trainings and other interventions.
  • Cooperatives and producers with Olam’s CLMRS reported increased awareness about child labor
  • and the legal age for hiring young workers. However, producers still lack knowledge about
  • the minimum age for light work. About 44% of producers are at risk of using children less than 13 in farm work.
  • While producers’ awareness of age requirements is improving, underage workers continue to
  • perform certain hazardous work on family farms such as transporting heavy loads of cocoa beans and using sharp tools.
  • Ten percent of producers reported that their children (including those under 13) work on family farms. Among the children interviewed, 93 % reported doing work on cocoa farms during their free time.
  • Olam is facilitating the establishment of local Cooperative Labor Groups (CLGs) that can support farm activities at various cocoa farms. Olam should work with the CLGs to strengthen the age-verification process during the recruitment of workers to the groups.
  • Producers and their families appreciate the schooling support provided through the CLMRS.
  • Twenty-two percent of the producers reported having received education-related support from Olam at least once. Since school canteens attract children to school, operationalizing the canteens could attract more children and help working parents with childcare.
  • Money earned from the Income Generating Activities (IGAs) contributes to a family’s food security and education for their children.
  • Changing ingrained practices that contribute to child labor is difficult and requires intervention over a long period. Training and awareness-building activities should incorporate techniques that address the behaviors that contribute to child labor.
  • In interviews conducted with 53 community-level stakeholders, 72% were aware of the CLMRS and said it was useful.
  • Based on the various data sources, it appears better results are achieved in cooperatives where there are several mutually reinforcing interventions in place within the CLMRS.
  • 10%

    of producers reported that their children (including those under 13) work on family farms.

  • 93%

    of children interviewed reported doing work on cocoa farms during their free time.