ACCEL Africa Paves the Way for Change in Cote d'Ivoire's Cocoa and Gold Mining Value Chains

The ACCEL Africa project recently concluded its capitalization workshop, marking an important milestone in its goal to accelerate action or elimination of child labour in the cocoa and artisanal gold mining value chains in Côte d'Ivoire.

Article | Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. | 27 June 2023

Grand Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire, June 19-23, 2023 - The ACCEL Africa project recently concluded its capitalization workshop, marking an important milestone in its goal to accelerate action or elimination of child labour in the cocoa and artisanal gold mining value chains in Côte d'Ivoire. Among the attendees, the even benefited from the participation the Directorate for the Fight Against Child Labour (DLTE), the Agency for the Promotion of Financial Inclusion (APIF), the National Health Insurance Fund (CNAM), the National Agency for Support for Rural Development (ANADER), the General Confederation of Enterprises of Côte d'Ivoire (CGECI) and trade unions represented by the Inter-union Committee for the Fight against Child Labour (CILTE).

Covering five key areas of project intervention, the final capitalization workshop presented remarkable achievements, valuable lessons learned and a compelling set of recommendations for institutionalizing these life-changing interventions. Let’s dive into some of the highlights:

Foster financial inclusion

ACCEL Africa has spearheaded an innovative collabouration between private and public sector entities, cooperatives and VSLAs to revolutionize financial education tools. Thanks to innovative measures such as the financial education of parents via digital tools on various subjects, namely: the diversification of sources of income, simplified accounting, savings mechanisms, accessibility to credit and the adoption of mobile money, the project has made it possible to transfer significant knowledge to the beneficiaries. The stakeholders present at the workshop strongly recommended that a framework for dialogue with banks and private sector actors be strengthened so that tools developed by the project for stakeholders in key sectors are deployed by them. In addition, suggestions included matching loans to cocoa traders with rigorous social criteria, collabourative financing of farmer livelihood initiatives, and promoting collabouration on agricultural trade finance principles.

Amplification of health insurance

By partnering with the CNAM, ACCEL Africa has achieved a remarkable increase in universal health coverage. The first pilot phase of the project saw 1,856 cocoa farmers receive their health insurance card, followed by an impressive number of 4,235 producers during the second pilot phase. This was possible thanks to the commitment of private sector companies in the awareness-raising phases, the commitment of cooperatives, but also the signing of public-private partnerships (PPP). To further strengthen this intervention, overarching recommendations emerged, namely capacity building and budget support to cooperatives and improved coordination with valued ILO partners.

Promotion of Occupational Safety and Health

The project aimed to improve the living conditions of cocoa producers by training 40 master trainers who trained 147 peer trainers in 20 localities of the Sub-prefectures of Grand-Zattry and M'Batto. Additionally, ACCEL Africa has made significant progress in improving the economic situation of vulnerable families, particularly those in VSLAs and WIND groups. The action of the project has enabled the beneficiaries to take measures to improve their safety and health at work. In addition, cooperatives have been empowered to tackle child labour by creating dedicated work groups that exclusively provide employment opportunities to cooperative members and their communities, ensuring the exclusion of children from hazardous work. 

Building employer commitment

The establishment of the Private Sector Initiative to Combat Child Labour and Forced Labour (ITEF) platform demonstrates ACCEL Africa's success in engaging employers. The project has created impactful communication materials, including a web page, newsletters and newspaper publications, to promote the ITEF. Remarkably, more than 20 actors have formalized their membership of the CGECI, offering companies and professional groups broader access to capacity building initiatives, compliance with international labour standards and a better understanding of the strategies of development.

Empowering workers

Workers’ organizations were at the forefront of ACCEL Africa's efforts, benefiting from activities tailored to their needs. Members received comprehensive training on eliminating child labour, engaged in dialogues and roundtables with agricultural workers and cooperatives, and participated in online courses on labour rights principles. These efforts have yielded fruitful results, including the creation of the CILTE action plan against child labour, the development of specific roadmaps on the organization of agricultural workers and the improvement of the role of education unions in quality education and in the elimination of Child Labour.

In light of the remarkable achievements and impactful results, phase 2 of the ACCEL Africa project will build on these interventions in the cocoa and gold mining sectors, the second phase will focus on social protection, occupational safety and health, social finance, cooperative development and youth employment. With a focus on sharing knowledge and fostering partnerships, this phase aims to create lasting change and empower children, youth and adults.

Similarly, the ENACTE project implemented by the ILO will build on the achievements of the ACCEL Africa project in the Nawa region. The action of the ILO helps to promote access to decent work in the Nawa Region with a view to tackling the root causes of this phenomenon.