MATE MASIE – Making Advances to Eliminate Child Labor in More Areas with Sustainable Integrated Efforts
The MATE MASIE project seeks to strengthen capacity, connections, and accountability across child labor enforcement and monitoring within cocoa cooperatives; build the capacity of cocoa cooperatives to provide support to vulnerable households and access to social protection; and pilot a farm-to-cooperative cocoa traceability system.
Ghana is a major producer of cocoa, with approximately 800,000 families relying on cocoa for their livelihoods. Cocoa farming occurs primarily on smallholder farms in the informal rural economy. It is labor intensive, and working on cocoa farms can be hazardous, particularly for children, whose physical, mental, and psychological capacities are still developing. Over one-third of Ghana’s cocoa is produced by sharecroppers, who are at significant risk of using child labor due to a lack of resources and increased vulnerability to economic shocks.
Why focus on increasing capacity of cocoa cooperatives?
In Ghana, the informal nature of cocoa production on smallholder farms contributes to pervasive child labor in the sector, causing major challenges to the effective monitoring and prevention of child labor. Cocoa cooperatives are formalizing the cocoa sector by organizing farmers, providing them with support services and supplies for production, assisting them with accessing financing, and monitoring labor conditions on their farms. However, only 20 percent of Ghana's cocoa farmers participate in formal cooperatives and farmer associations, and not all of these organizations operate effectively. Efforts are needed to improve the capacity of cocoa cooperatives to monitor for child labor, build linkages and cooperation with enforcement authorities, and improve the provision of social services to households with children at-risk of child labor.
The MATE MASIE project aims to increase the number of cocoa cooperatives demonstrating a reduction of child labor in the cocoa supply chain by implementing activities to:
- Improve accountability of cocoa cooperatives to monitor child labor in the cocoa supply chain and facilitate enforcement of child labor laws by the government; and
- Strengthen partnerships to accelerate progress in increasing support to vulnerable households within cocoa cooperatives and providing access to child labor remediation programs.
MATE MASIE will collaborate with cocoa cooperatives and other stakeholders to support a locally developed farm-to-cooperative traceability system for child labor. The project also will support cocoa cooperatives with significant and diverse farmer reach in developing a replicable pathway for child labor monitoring and the provision of remediation services in order to pave the way for wider adoption. In addition, the project will build the capacity of government enforcement authorities at the district and community levels and improve the coordination and referral systems of local service providers so that these organizations can mutually reinforce one another to become more effective in eliminating child labor in the cocoa sector.
The following results reflect early activities during the project’s start-up phase, which are important for laying the foundation for future success. Please check back later for more results as the project advances further in its implementation.
- In 2021, during the initial stage of implementation, the MATE MASIE project conducted a series of consultations with civil society partners, government partners, and Winrock staff to better understand the operating environment and increase the project’s chances of success.
- The project also consulted with other USDOL-funded projects working in Ghana’s cocoa sector, including CACAO, Adwuma Pa, and FLIP. These consultations focused on current government policies and initiatives, donor expectations, and ongoing activities with cocoa cooperatives in order to identify potential synergies and gaps and better understand the local context.