By Tomoko Shiroki - Managing Director and Co-founder
My name is Tomoko Shiroki, and I am the Managing Director and Co-founder of ACE. Thank you very much for supporting our efforts to end child exploitation in the world. Today, we have good news from Ghana! On November 29th, ACE co-organized a "National Stakeholder Dialogue on the Creation of Child Labour Free Zones in Ghana” with the Ghanaian Ministry of Employmentand Labour Relations(MELR), Ghana Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) and our local partner CRADA. The conference was organized to bring variousstakeholders, and more than 80 attendantsincluding cacao farmers, a child who had experienced working as child laborer,a chief and teachers from cocoa producing communities,staffs from several NGOs, private corporations, international organization like ILO, local governments and the central ministriescameto share experiences and learn from each other, and to start a discussion of how best to achieve the goal of ending child labour. It was a very rare occasion for all the stakeholders to get together in one setting and hold a conference like this in Ghana. It was the first time ever to hold a national-level conference on the theme of "Creating a child labor free zone mechanism” in the West Africa region, and we truly believe that we took a very progressive and advanced step. At the conference, all participants eagerly joined the discussion, which lasted unabated for hours. The event reminded us that we all share the same goal of elimination of child labour in the world.
We were honored to be able to make this progress together with people in Ghana. It was a great pleasure for us to hear that the deputy director of MELR mentioned in his speech that the presentation given by ACE at CLCCG (the Child Labor Cocoa Coordinating Group) meeting in Abidjan in July this year triggered to engage this National Stakeholders' meeting.
It has been 10 years since we first started our work in Ghana. In the beginning, it all started with one small activity in one village, and now we have become an organization capable of developing a big project with the Ghana government. This was made possible because of people who have supported us throughout the years. We would like to thank you for your continued support. This is just the beginning of us! We will work in solidarity with the people in Ghana to continue our activities to build a future without child labour in the world.
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