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.
Adwuma Pa Project Result Highlights
(Oct 2021 – March 2022)
- The project has provided more than 1,860 women with services to enhance their knowledge and skills to either gain employment or launch their own child labor-free microenterprises, such as making bread, confectionery, pastries, and soap. As women gain employment and grow their incomes, their families become less likely to rely on child labor. The project estimates these interventions will improve the standard of living for 7,472 individuals in cocoa-growing communities.
- To improve the economic participation of women and girls vulnerable to child labor, forced labor, and other labor rights violations in Ghana’s cocoa supply chain, the project helped form 12 women-led cocoa cooperatives. As women take on leadership roles in these cooperatives, they build their agency, increase their bargaining power, bolster their ability to advocate for issues affecting women in the group, and even inspire women in their communities. These cooperatives also improve members’ access to the social capital they need to sustain cocoa farms.
- The project helped establish partnerships between women-led cocoa cooperative and the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, the Department of Cooperatives, and the sustainability unit of the Olam Ghana Agri-company. Through these connections, cooperative members now have access to other services and business supports to help get their beans (and other commodities) ready for market. The project also linked eight cooperatives with rural banks to increase members’ access to credit, which in turn helps them sustain and grow their businesses and reduce risk during volatile seasons and markets.
- To improve the economic participation of adolescent girls and equip them with critical skills to reduce their susceptibility to labor exploitation, the project provided life skills training to more than 1,240 girls and placed 382 girls with Master Crafts Persons to learn new trades. Many of these girls will move on to start their own businesses and become leaders in their communities. Some will even return to formal schooling.
- As a result of project engagement with associations of Master Crafts Persons and Community Development Committees, Adwuma Pa was able to reduce tuition costs for adolescent girls seeking vocational training. The project is also working with the Community Development Committees to negotiate with the Association of Master Crafts Persons to enroll other vulnerable girls at reduced fees beyond the project lifetime. This partnership demonstrates how stakeholders are willing to support project goals to improve economic outcomes for adolescent girls living in cocoa-growing communities.
- The Adwuma Pa project assisted Olam Ghana, the fifth largest company in Ghana, in reviewing key policy documents to identify gaps to address and promote good labor practices in its cocoa supply chain. As a result, Olam developed a gender policy that better protects female employees and women-led cocoa cooperatives. The company has also implemented a paternity leave system and increased the number of months for maternity leave from three to four months for direct company employees. Providing these protections for women will result in thousands of families reducing economic risk during volatile times.
- This project also trained over 140 Olam staff and contractors on ways to identify, track, assess, and protect against child labor and labor rights violations. This resulted in Olam reconstituting Child Protection Committees within farmer communities to include grievance and gender focal persons to receive and report on rights violations at the community level.
Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE)
Child Rights International, Youth Opportunity for Transformation in Africa (YOTA) (formerly YES Ghana)