Eliminating child labour in West Africa and strengthening sub-regional cooperation through ECOWAS (ECOWAS I)

In West African mines, fisheries, plantations, quarries, and street markets, large numbers of children (both boys and girls) are deprived access to schooling. In some cases, their very lives are at stake as many more children become actively engaged in child labour. With high rates of poverty in the region, many children—working as domestic servants, head carriers, prostitutes, field workers and cart pushers—are forced to resign any hope of freedom and security.

Cognizant of the suffering of child labourers and that high rates of poverty are no excuse for letting new generations of children miss opportunities for education and future access to decent employment, governments in the West Africa sub-region have taken firm steps towards the elimination of child labour, starting with its worst forms. This project seeks to contribute to national and sub-regional initiatives to combat the worst forms of child labour.

Main components


  • The first will support national efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in the project’s core countries: Cote d’Ivoire (RCI), Ghana and Nigeria.
  • components: The second main component of the project is to mobilize sub-regional policy makers and improve sub-regional cooperation for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour among all fifteen member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
  • The National Plan of Action (NPA/NAP) has been validated in Cote d’Ivoire (RCI).
  • The project provided technical assistance to the Ministries of Labour and Women and Children’s Affairs for the formulation of a law on trafficking and the Worst Forms of Child Labour in RCI. The law was adopted in August 2010.
  • NAP in Nigeria has been adopted. Follow up activities like supporting dissemination of the NAP, assisting institutions to monitor and budget for child labour, undertaking awareness raising, resource mobilization and linking NAP to state level actions are yet to take place.


  • An executive body of the social dialogue for ECOWAS met in May 2012 and the delegation of the sub-region met in a separate forum in ILC Geneva in June 2012.
  • In Ghana, the support of the promulgation and dissemination of the National Plan of Action (NPA) and its integration into the DWCP, PRSP and UNDAF and the policy framework, was completed.
  • The project held consultations, using Strategic Program Impact Framework (SPIF), with Ministry of Labour (Mol), social partners and other relevant national institutions to facilitate finalisation of the NPA and its endorsement by the tripartite constituents. This included specific components that would address WFCL in inland fishing cocoa and mines and quarries, in Ghana.
  • The preliminary sub-national consultation meetings and regional workshops in project targeted zones (Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana) were organized by the ILO-IPEC’s ECOWAS project in August 2011.
  • In Ghana, the project supported the government to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework for the NPA. The Child Labour Unit (CLU) presented the status of the NPA implementation to the NSC in August 2011.
  • In Nigeria, a sensitization workshop for the members of the NSC was held from 9 to 10 May 2012 in Abuja. The workshop included sensitization on the child labour situation, and the response to that, understand the existing legislation and the gaps in implementation; the short term and long term solutions to meet the target of elimination of the worst forms of child labour; understand the role of the National Steering Committee; and understanding the individual responsibilities of members and organizations as opinion makers and champions of working against child labour.
  • The establishment of a new ministry in Ghana, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP), brings a new national impetus to child protection in an advantageous context of social protection. The Project has met with the new Minister and plans to partner with the ministry to enhance the implementation of the NPA.
  • Thus far, 260 law enforcement personnel have been trained on child labour issues.
  • In RCI, the project has trained 30 Magistrates, 30 Police Officers (by 25-27 September 2013) and 36 Labour Inspectors (by August 2013).
  • Under the Action Programme in Cote d’Ivoire on capacity building of stakeholders, an experience sharing workshop on stakeholders’ training was organized from 30 to 31 January 2013. It brought representatives from Benin, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria.
  • The project, with the help of the media, organized on the national level the awareness raising of child trafficking and child labour from 11 to 14 June 2013.


  1. Instructional material

    Eliminating the worst forms of child labour in West Africa: A training guide for trainers and practitioners

    01 December 2013

    This guide is aimed at serving as a training device in the fight against the worst forms of child labour, particularly in households, the area of cocoa culture and also in other sectors where children are used illegally. A methodology that is participative and interactive and puts participants at the heart of the training through their contribution is recommended. The activities are therefore designed in such a way to benefit from the experiences and knowledge of each participant.

  2. Report

    Analyse des actions de communication sur le travail des enfants en Côte d’Ivoire

    01 August 2013

    L’étude a été réalisée sur la base des investigations, de recueil des textes, des visites des structures, et des entretiens avec des responsables administratifs et politiques, ainsi qu’avec des responsables de structures privées intervenant dans le domaine de la protection des enfants contre l’exploitation et la traite.

  3. World Day 2013 Activities Report

    Nigeria - 2013 World Day Against Child Labour

    01 July 2013

  4. Publication

    Document cadre du Système d’observation et de suivi du travail des enfants en Côte d’Ivoire (SOSTECI)

    20 March 2013

    Conformément aux dispositions de l'article 5 de la Convention n° 182 de l'Organisation Internationale du Travail (OIT), ratifiée par la Côte d'Ivoire en février 2003, tout Etat qui l’a ratifiée, doit mettre en place un mécanisme de suivi efficace et durable de l’exécution des actions menées dans le cadre de la lutte contre les pires formes de travail des enfants.