You just made a tour to monitor and evaluate community development projects of chocolate producing firms. What can you say about this tour?
You know that the issue of the worst forms of child labor and especially in the cocoa – growing sector exposed our country on the international scene for over ten years as a country using child labor. This situation severely tarnished the image of the Côte d’Ivoire and discredits our cocoa, which led President Alassane Ouattara from his accession to the Presidency to take all full measure of things and vigorously and fundamentally reorganize the institutional remediation architecture. This led to the creation of the National Oversight Committee of Action Against Trafficking, Exploitation and Child Labor (CNS) chaired by the First Lady, Mrs. Dominique Ouattara. Thus, the CNS in collaboration with all international and national NGOs working in this field, developed a National Action Plan (NAP). And cocoa industries are committed too, to carry out some infrastructures for cocoa growing communities.
Our mission was to ensure the effectiveness of these projects. And also to know whether they abide by the National Action Plan, in terms of school and health infrastructure. In short, all the steps needed to eliminate child labor.
Do you think that things are moving in the fight against child labor?
We believe that things are happening in the fight against child labor. And they are happening very well because we have seen the mobilization of people we met in cocoa growing communities in the villages in San Pedro, Soubré going by Méagui, Gagnoa and Lakota. We have seen people’s enthusiasm to listen to the message. And in return, they have reassured us about their availability for putting all the tips and awareness raising messages we brought them.
Mrs. Patricia Yao Sylvie assessed the mission of the CNS and the IMC (Inter-ministerial committee)
Is the CNS plans further visits in the weeks to come?
Absolutely there will be other visits. This is only the beginning. There are several cocoa growing areas that we did not visit. In addition, the First Lady, Mrs. Dominique Ouattara will soon go and address her parents cocoa producers of San Pedro during a big meeting to bring them her awareness raising message.
Would you like to make an appeal?
I do appeal to cocoa growing communities.
The President of the CNS (Dominique Ouattara, Editor's note) keeps on saying that she works for her parents planters so they have a fair remuneration of the fruit of their labor. She also works for the children not in order to ban them from accompanying their parents on the plantations, but on the contrary, to do so as to avoid endangering their education and health. Her goal is to avoid all hazardous work that endangers their future. That is the message of the CNS.