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Eradicating child/forced labour

Cocoa industry reps and labour rights activists to visit child labour projects in communities in West Africa, including Ghana

The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), a partnership to combat child and forced labour in cocoa farming areas, will bring together representatives from the cocoa industry and civil society in West Africa on the occasion of its 16th Board meeting.

Senior representatives from ADM, Cadbury, Cargill, Dignité, ECA, Ferrero, Free the Slaves, Global March, Hersheys, ILO, ITUC, IUF, Mars Inc., Nestlé and the US Consumer League will be meeting in West Africa, at the of ICI’s 16th Board meeting, that will take place from 02 to 05 October 2007 in Ghana. This is a unique meeting of industry decision makers and labour rights activists in the main cocoa growing region of West Africa. The meeting reinforces the commitment of all parties in the partnership to eliminate child labour in the cocoa sector.

Board members will meet officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and concerned ministries in Ivory Coast. Then, during the Ghanaian National Cocoa Week, the official 16th Board meeting will take place in Accra. Representatives from the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment, who coordinate the Ghana Government’s National Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labour in cocoa, will exchange views with Board members. ICI provides active support to this plan.

In both countries, board members will visit active community based projects supported by the ICI that are making a real difference in the lives of children. They will also visit rehabilitation centres for abused children supported by the ICI and meet with ICI’s local partners.

ICI is presently expanding its activities in Ghana, currently reaching 109 communities. In Ivory Coast, ICI is building on its pilot activities, with on-going projects in 21 communities, reaching an estimated 70,000 people. Key achievements for 2007 will be officially presented to the Board during this session, and ICI’s upcoming programme and budget for 2008 will be decided.

An independent entity, ICI is governed by a foundation Board that reflects the multi-stakeholder partnership principles. Barry Callebaut, Cadbury Schweppes, Dignité, Education International, European Cocoa Association, Ferrero, Free the Slaves, Global March against Child Labour, Hershey Foods, International Confectionery Association, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations (IUF), Kraft Foods, Mars Incorporated, Nestlé, and the US National Consumers League are members of the ICI. The International Labour Office (ILO) is advisor to the Board.

 

The ILO estimated that 132 million children from 4 to 12 years old work in agriculture around the world – in many cases out of sheer economic necessity. Child labour is not limited to any one agricultural sector. Independent foundation, founded in 2002, the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) is dedicated to ending worst forms of child labour and forced labour in cocoa-growing. Unique partnership between NGOs, labour unions, cocoa processors and the major chocolate brands, ICI works to change the way cocoa is grown.

For more information, please contact Muriel Guigue, Communication Coordinator, Tel: + 41 22 341 47 29, Email: guiguem@cocoainitiative.org
 
   
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