The General Agricultural Workers' Union (GAWU) of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has embarked on an intensive three-day sensitization programme in Nigeria and Ghana. The program in the cocoa growing community was to help fight child labour in cocoa growing areas in the countries.
It brought together about 32 basic schools consisting of over 4000 pupils, teachers, chiefs and other stakeholders in the community where a sports festival was held for the pupils. GAWU used the occasion to enlighten the pupils about the importance of education and stressed on the need for them to stay in school. Mr Edward Tandaga Kareweh, Deputy General Secretary of GAWU, said agriculture was a very demanding venture which could disrupt the schooling of many children. 'These children are exposed to toxic pesticides, fertilizers, dangerous blades as well as suffering bites from animals and insects and these can have immediate and long term impact on children,' he said. Mr Kareweh said GAWU was vigorously embarking on a nationwide campaign in the cocoa growing areas against child labour adding that 'we do not want to see children in labour because we believe in the dignity of labour.'
As part of the sensitization programme, GAWU also trained some farmers, stakeholders and parents to be agents of change in the cocoa growing areas in the region. Some of the topics treated as part of the program included, Child Labour and Hazardous Work in Ghana's Cocoa Farms, Hazards, Effects and Control Measures in Cocoa Farming, Protecting the Health and Well-being of Children and Farmers. Mr Andrews Addoquaye Tagoe, Head of training and Education of GAWU, said the Union felt the need to assist and enlighten farmers on the correct usage and application of farming tools and chemicals. He said the training was aimed at raising awareness and to promote the well-being of children and farmers through the adoption of safe and healthy practices in cocoa production.