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The fight against child labor: 100 surveillance agents received motorcycles from First Lady Dominique Ouattara, equips and launches

On Thursday August 24, 2023, the First Lady, Madame Dominique Ouattara, President of the National Oversight Committee to fight Trafficking, Child Exploitation and Labour (CNS), presented 100 motorcycles to surveillance agents.

The ceremony, which took place at the First Lady's office in Cocody, witnessed the presence of personalities and  the surveilance agents.

Child Labor Surveilance Agents are young men and women of Ivorian nationality, aged between 20 and 35, recruited by the Coffee and Cocoa board with at least a baccalaureate.

Their main missions are to ensure constant vigilance and monitoring of the risks of child labor, by raising public awareness, and to report cases of child labor to the relevant authorities for appropriate remedial action.  Their role is also to spread CNS's awareness-raising messages to rural communities, for example, by explaining to cocoa farmers hazardous activities that are forbidden to children, and activities that are authorized for them in cocoa farming, in order to inform cocoa farmers'  on the negative impact of child labor. The creation of this monitoring brigade will help strengthen the social traceability of cocoa, through its role as a watchdog and early-warning player in the Child Labor Observation and Monitoring System in Côte d'Ivoire (SOSTECI).

Ms N'Da Nadia Bindé, Deputy Chief of Staff and representative of Ms Yao Patricia Sylvie, Executive Secretary of the CNS, recalled the importance  cocoa farming in the national economy. N'Da Nadia Bindé pointed out that Ivorian cocoa alone accounts for 45% of world production. What's more, cocoa farming generates almost 7 million jobs. For her, despite the actions and commitments of the Government and the First Lady in the fight against child labor, efforts to remedy the phenomenon are woefully inadequate. It is in this context that the recruitment and training of these 100 surveillance agents is being undertaken. She went on to say that these agents will be responsible for carrying out permanent local surveillance in the hamlets, in order to raise farmers' awareness on the phenomenon.

For Mr. Kouassi Jérémie Kan, representative of the General Manager of the Coffee and Cocoa board, this initiative by the First Lady is a tangible solution to combat child labor. He also urged the surveillance agents to visit all the hamlets in order to sensitize the farmers. Mr. Kouassi Jérémie Kan concluded by recalling the new initiatives of the Coffee and Cocoa board through the implementation of a cocoa traceability system, the introduction of the Ivorian cocoa standard and the project to contribute to reforestation and agroforestry.

Amani Michel Ange, consultant in charge of child labor issues at the First Lady's office, underlined the objectives for creating this monitoring unit.