Assessing Progress in Reducing Child Labor in Cocoa-Growing Areas of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana

Project Duration
December 2015
November 2021
Funding and Year

The overall objective of this project is to identify the various interventions carried out since the signing of the Declaration in 2010, assess their relative effectiveness, and measure progress towards the achievement of the various goals and targets outlined in the Declaration and Framework, including the goal of a 70 percent reduction in aggregate of the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa sectors of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana by 2020.

The Problem

More than half of the world’s annual cocoa production comes from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, and research funded by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) estimated that over 2.1 million children were engaged in child labor in the cocoa sector of the two countries in 2013-2014. Nearly all of these children were engaged in hazardous work.

In response to evidence of children working under dangerous conditions in the West African cocoa sector, representatives from the International Chocolate and Cocoa Industry (Industry) signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol to address the issue in 2001. Since the signing of the Protocol, private and public sector entities have supported numerous interventions to combat child labor in two countries’ cocoa sectors. In 2010, the Governments of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, USDOL, and Industry signed the Declaration of Joint Action to Support Implementation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol. This Declaration and its accompanying Framework of Action committed the parties to further action, and set a goal of reducing the worst forms of child labor by 70 percent in the aggregate in the cocoa sectors of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana by 2020. In support of this goal, the parties recognized the need for reliable, actionable data on child labor reduction efforts in the sector, analysis of their outcomes, and additional population estimates to track overall progress in reducing child labor.

Our Strategy

This four-year project will produce the following outputs:

  • Mapping of relevant interventions: The project will identify and collect detailed geographical and program information relating to interventions that have taken place since the signing of the Declaration to address child labor in cocoa-growing areas of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, and present this information in an interactive, webbased platform. This mapping platform will be presented at national-level meetings in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, where stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide feedback prior to its finalization.
  • Assessment of effectiveness: The project will evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to address child labor in the cocoa sectors of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, and progress towards achievement of the goals and targets of the Declaration and Framework. The assessment will be based on: (1) information and data collected and catalogued in the mapping platform, (2) qualitative data collected via interviews and focus group discussions in cocoa-growing areas, and (3) quantitative data from nationally representative surveys of child labor in the two countries (2007- 2008, 2008-2009, 2013-2014, and 2018-2019). The findings of the assessment will be disseminated at stakeholder meetings in Washington, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana.
  • Sectorally-representative survey: The project will conduct a survey of child labor in cocoa-growing areas of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana during the 2018-2019 peak harvest season (from late 2018 to early 2019). It will develop population estimates for the prevalence of working children, child labor, and the worst forms of child labor (using hazardous labor as a proxy for the worst forms of child labor). The project will use the estimates to measure percentage changes in the prevalence compared to previous estimates. A report on the survey will be published and disseminated at meetings in Washington, D.C., Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana before the end of the project.
National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC)
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor