Ms. Agatha Kolawole, International Labor Organization (ILO) National Program Coordinator and child labor focal officer, says that her organization will continue its partnership with the government through the Ministry of Labor to eliminate child labor and protect children within the working age.
Ms. Kolawole, spoke on behalf of the ILO country office director for Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Ghana, congratulated the government through the Ministry of Labour for adopting the National Action Plan on the policy to eliminate child labor.
She said the ILO is optimistic that its implementation, which will be done in agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) strategic framework, will result in the reduction of exploitation of children in the country.
Ms. Kolawole informed participants that the next phase might be, if not already considered, the development of a reporting template on the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Elimination of Child Labor.
She made the remarks on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at the start of a week-long National Technical Workshop for ECOWAS member states on the guidelines for implementation of a strategic framework on strengthening national child protection system in Monrovia.
Ms. Kolawole added, “I am delighted with the concerted effort of the ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with ILO for the successful development of this guideline for the implementation of the ECOWAS strategic framework on child protection.”
She continued that this intervention of the ILO is through the European Union-funded project “Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa,” and as such, “we say a big thank you to the EU for making this happen.”
Ms. Kolawole expressed the optimism that the effective application of the guidelines will enhance the effective and efficient implementation of the ECOWAS child protection strategic plan for the protection of children from all forms of abuse and exploitation,” she told the participants.
She added that the Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa (FMM West Africa) project is being implemented by a consortium of three international organizations including the International Organization for Migration, ILO and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, each with its own area of expertise and technical capacity.
FMM West Africa’s primary objective was to assist ECOWAS in its efforts to harness the development potentials of free movement within the region.
In 2011, according to her, ECOWAS Commission developed a Draft ECOWAS Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for Child Protection System in West Africa with the main goal of the Draft ECOWAS Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for Child Protection System, to promote the well being of children within the region, respectively.
Ms. Kolawole recalled that in 2016, the monitoring and evaluation framework metamorphosed into ECOWAS Strategic Framework for strengthening National Child Protection Systems to prevent and respond to Violence, Abuse and Exploitation against Children in West Africa, covering the period 2018-2030.
This strategic framework, she said, still upheld the focus of the Monitor and Evaluation (M&E) framework, which is expected to guide the Member States in building national child protection systems across the region and that National child protection systems are expected to focus on five issues of particular concern in the region.
Ms. Kolawole continued, “We want to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the framework; the ECOWAS Commission has developed guidelines to guide member states in their implementation of the child protection strategic framework and also identified indicators for successful implementation.
She said to operationalize the implementation of the strategic framework using the Guidelines, The ECOWAS commission identified the necessity to train Child Protection and Child Labour Actors in Member states on the guidelines and the strategic framework.
In view of this, the ECOWAS Commission and ILO under the framework of the FMM West Africa project organized a five-day capacity building workshop for child protection and child labor actors on the effective implementation of the strategic framework using the developed guidelines from the 1st to 5th of April 2019 in Togo.
Meanwhile, the weeklong workshop runs from Tuesday, August 06, 2019 to Saturday, August 10, 2019 brings together Child and Children Protection Officers, members of the National Commission on Child Labour, Civil Society groups, the Ministries of Labour, Gender, Children and Social Protection as well as other line Ministries and Agencies in Liberia.