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‘Prioritise child well-being and community development in the cocoa sector’ says Embode

Author: Aarti Kapoor, Managing Director/ Lead Consultant, Embode, Published on: 23 May 2016

International consulting group Embode released ‘Children at the Heart’ today, the first two in a series of three reports on child labour in the cocoa sectors of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia commissioned by Mondelēz International. Embode’s research found that a complex array of conditions and factors, such as economic and structural poverty, persistent cultural practices, child vulnerability and labour migration, enabled child labour in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Embode’s report issued eight recommendations, calling on cocoa producers to place more emphasis on child well-being and community development. “Any intervention we make must take a child-centred approach, recognising the child within the ecology of their family and community,” said Aarti Kapoor, Managing Director of Embode and Lead Researcher on the project. “Child labour does not exist in a vacuum, and is far from being limited to cocoa,” added Kapoor. “Tackling the complex problem of child labour requires a complex solution – we must address the livelihoods and basic services for quality education, health and social services in communities over time,” said Kapoor. Mondelēz International’s Cocoa Life programme has been heralded as a promising approach, fostering the transformation of communities over time and helping tackle the root enablers of child labour. The Cocoa Life programme has a significant community development component, and is implemented on the ground through multi-year partnerships with international non-governmental organisations. Building on Mondelez’s achievements, Embode called for more focus on child protection and well-being using school systems as entry-points for proactive child protection interventions into child labour; more robust impact reporting to enable a continuous cycle of learning; and better access to quality education for children.

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