The Adwuma Pa project works to reduce the risk of child and forced labor, and other exploitative labor practices, by improving the economic participation and empowerment of women and adolescent girls within cocoa-producing communities in Ghana.
Child labor, forced labor, and other labor violations remain a persistent problem within Ghana’s cocoa supply chain. Moreover, women and girls aged 15-17 remain particularly vulnerable to exploitation in the supply chain.
Girls make up over half of the child laborers in the cocoa supply. Burdened with additional unpaid household responsibilities compared with their male counterparts, Ghanaian girls are at a greater risk for labor exploitation. They are also more likely to have limited access to education,
Ghanaian women and girls of legal working age who participate in cocoa production face additional vulnerabilities as they often lack access to land to cultivate cocoa farms, financial resources such as loans, and education and technical training that could increase their labor productivity, profitability, and financial independence. Furthermore, men, rather than women, typically play a pivotal role in taking the cocoa beans to market where they are able to negotiate prices and ultimately control the profit from the sale of the product in local markets. In turn, this limits the ability of women and adolescent girls to run their own businesses and manage earnings.
The Adwuma Pa project (“Adwuma Pa” means “business ethics” in the Akan language) is designed to work within 80 cocoa-producing communities across four districts in Ghana, targeting 2,500 vulnerable women and 2,500 vulnerable adolescent girls to increase their safe economic participation and growth within the cocoa sector. As a part of this strategy, the project will provide targeted education and training that will reduce their risk of child labor, forced labor, and other labor rights violations, and will increase their earning potential, worker voice, and labor force participation.
The project will also assist the company Olam Ghana in improving its business practices in its cocoa supply chain to protect against child labor, forced labor, and other violations of labor rights, potentially benefiting at least 15,000 farmers and other members of cocoa-producing communities.
- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had significant adverse health and economic impacts on the individuals and communities the project aims to serve, especially vulnerable women and girls, the project:
- developed contingency plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among project staff, participants, and their communities. This was critical to ensure project activities could continue safely, as well as provide additional protections to vulnerable women and girls from potential labor exploitation during extreme hardship.
- trained staff, project partners, and local authorities on “gender-responsive engagement” which emphasized how vulnerable women and girls can increase their personal protection and household preparedness during times of crisis.
- disseminated thousands of personal protective equipment and hygiene wash kits to all 80 project communities and staff.
- produced and broadcast several public messages, jingles, and live radio discussions about COVID-19 protection and the increased risks of child labor due to the pandemic. The campaign resulted in greater collaboration and coordination between the project, government, and community leaders in addressing these vulnerabilities.
- Adwuma Pa held community meetings to raise awareness about issues of child labor and labor rights and protections in 30 cocoa-growing communities, reaching a total of 2,531 cocoa farmers, school teachers, Child District Committee members, and other influential community leaders. These meetings resulted in each community producing a Community Action Plan to pledge their commitment and map out their strategy for addressing and reducing child labor, forced labor, and other labor rights violations within their cocoa-growing communities. For example, some communities are using existing Child District Committees to identify, report, and resolve cases of child labor as part of their Community Action Plans.
- To improve knowledge of and compliance with labor rights and protections in the cocoa supply chain of Olam Ghana, the fifth largest company in Ghana, Adwuma Pa assisted the company in reviewing its key policy documents, identifying gaps the company should address in order to promote good labor practices. As a result of this review, Adwuma Pa recommended that Olam Ghana update its Child Labor Policy to provide a definition and work list for child labor, hazardous work, and forced labor for easy understanding and identification by Olam employees throughout the cocoa supply chain. The project also recommended Olam develop a gender policy that is inclusive of female employees and women-led cocoa cooperatives.
- With the goal of reducing the risk of labor rights violations within the cocoa supply chain, the project trained 141 staff and contractors, employed by Olam, on ways to identify, track, assess, and protect against child labor and labor rights violations. The training also facilitated ways for Olam employees to develop methods that integrate and mainstream gender into activities within their work throughout the cocoa supply chain.