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The JICA commissioned ACE Research Project on Child Labour Free Zones in Ghana has been completed.

Aim of the study

From October 2020 to June 2022, ACE conducted the study project, “Data Collection Survey on Child Labour and Support for Child Labour Free Zone Pilot Activities with a Focus on the Cocoa Region in the Republic of Ghana”, commissioned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The project aim was to investigate global trends in child labour, interventions to eliminate child labour implemented in Ghana, and trends in initiatives by stakeholders of the cocoa industry. The research project also conducted pilot activities to test the feasibility of the Protocols and Guidelines for the Establishment of Child Labour Free Zones (CLFZs) issued by the Government of Ghana in March 2020. For the implementation of this research project, ACE formed a joint team of consultants with IC Net Limited (IC Net), which has consultancy experience in the field of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

What are Child Labour Free Zones?

The Child Labour Free Zones (CLFZs) are areas where mechanisms for the prevention and remediation of child labour have been established and are functioning. The government of Ghana introduced the CLFZs as a national system. Prior to the JICA research project, ACE supported the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations of Ghana and worked with the Technical Working Group in their mission to develop CLFZ guidelines from November 2018 to March 2020, together with Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC.

The overall of goal of the CLFZs is to develop and implement holistic, well-integrated, consistent, and high-yielding interventions that will lead to the eradication of child labour and the total development of children's access to education in Ghana by 2025. The CLFZ Guidelines, issued in March 2020, set out 36 requirements (indicators) to be met at the community and local government levels in eight categories, including the promotion of community members’ understanding of child labour, a system for monitoring child labour, a welfare and economic support system for vulnerable families and children, and the development of appropriate school environments. Areas where all indicators are met to a certain extent through the assessment by the government will be declared as CLFZs. (see chapter 3 of the report)

Findings and implication of the pilot activities

Under the JICA study project, pilot activities were conducted in two selected districts to identify the challenges and opportunities for the effective implementation of CLFZs and elimination of child labour in Ghana. Listed below are the major findings from the pilot activities.

  • The standardized set of the CLFZ criteria is useful and effective.

  • It is possible and effective to set up and make functional the child labour monitoring system by the Community Child Protection Committee (CCPC) at the community level.

  • Support by key local government agencies and the appropriate delivery of the public services to the community level are crucial in functionalizing the CLFZ mechanism.

Furthermore, as a result of testing the assessment of CLFZs, it became clear that the geographical classification and criteria (indicators) for CLFZs as initially stipulated in the guidelines, need to be reviewed and revised. The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relation of Ghana, together with the Technical Working Group, are already in the process of revising the guidelines in response to the findings and recommendations of this study.

The study also collected information on how European multi-stakeholder cocoa platforms established in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Belgium, work individually as well as collectively. As a result, ideas and recommendation for the Japanese Sustainable Cocoa Platform were identified and submitted. In the course of data collection, there were many opportunities to interview and exchange information directly with the key actors in the cocoa sector including the following platforms: the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), and multinationals such as Mondelez. There were also may interactions with international organizations such as the World Bank, FAO,the EU, among others. (see chapters 4 and 5 of the report)

Prior to the submission of the report to JICA, a dissemination workshop and donor conference were held in Accra on the 26th and 27th of April 2022. The experience and findings of the study as well as the recommendations for the effective implementation and future roll-out of the CLFZs was shared among a wide range of stakeholders including the key national ministries and agencies, cocoa sector partners, donors, and other development partners. Similarly, a dissemination seminar was held in Tokyo on the 20th of July 2022 with 78 participants from member organizations of the Japanese Sustainable Cocoa Platform, NGOs, consultancy companies, and JICA.

Next step

Following the completion of the study project, the Government of Ghana requested the Government of Japan to continue its support for the establishment and dissemination of CLFZs. As a response to this request, the Government of Japan approved the provision of the next stage of technical assistance through JICA.

The final report of this study (JICA Library)

You can find the report of the study in English and Japanese on the JICA library portal.

Final Report - Data Collection Survey on Child Labour and Support for Child Labour Free Zone Pilot Activities with a Focus on the Cocoa Region in the Republic of Ghana

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