Nestlé is providing locally made bamboo bikes to help child labour officers in Ghana monitor their work on the fields as part of its commitment to prevent and eliminate child labour from its supply chain.
The company has teamed up with Ghana Bamboo Bikes, a social enterprise in Bekwai in the Ashanti region, which aims to create employment opportunities and training for skilled and unskilled young people, especially women.
30 bamboo bikes will be given to 30 new community liaison officers with an additional 60 to be given to 60 officers, who are being trained to monitor child labour and carry out sensitization campaigns in Bekwai and Nsokoti in Ashanti, where two Nestlé Cocoa Plan farms are based in each village.
This is part of the launch of the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) in Ghana on March 1, to reinforce the monitoring of child labour in cocoa-growing communities under the Nestlé Cocoa Plan.
Launched in 2009, the Plan is a holistic programme to improve the lives of cocoa farmers, by helping them to increase their income through a set of activities including training in good agricultural practices, providing new plants to farmers, and creating long-term relationships in its supply chain.
Action against child labour
Nestlé’s latest work in Ghana is part of its on-going efforts and pledge to eradicate child labour from its cocoa supply chain.
In 2012, it was the first company in the food industry to become an affiliate partner of the Fair Labor Association.
In response to the FLA report that mapped its cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire, Nestlé drew up the CLMRS with the International Cocoa Initiative.
The system includes working with community liaison officers chosen by local communities to gather data on whether child labour is evident.
By the end of 2015, Nestlé completed action plans to reduce child labour in its cocoa supply chain with over 44,600 farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, and sensitized more than 120,000 community members on child labour practices. It also built and renovated 42 schools to help children go to school.
Nestlé included about 80% of cooperatives in the CLMRS and targeted 100% by 2016.
Boosting local entrepreneurship
Ghana Bamboo Bikes, launched in 2008, offers young people practical lessons and technical expertise on building environmentally sustainable bicycles using native bamboo.
It also currently works with ten farmers in the country to boost employment and develop their bamboo plantations and harvest for use in production.
By using locally sourced bamboo, it is a suitable alternative to wood to help preserve Ghana’s decreasing forests, and reduces carbon emissions in comparison to the manufacturing of steel bicycle frames.
“We look to build capacity and create employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled youth and women,” Bernice Dapaah, founder of Ghana Bamboo Bikes.
“Today we employ 50 people and have already sold thousands of bikes in Ghana and abroad. We will expand to the northern region of Ghana and diversify our product range in the future,” she added.