The Effects Of Child Labor Monitoring On Knowledge, Attitude And Practices In Cocoa Growing Communities Of Ghana
Among the multitude of interventions to address the worst forms of child labor (WFCL), one of the responses to the presence of WFCL has been the institution of child labor monitoring (CLM). While systems to systematically monitor children with respect to their exposure and risks have been implemented, the degree of their efficacy and ultimately their effect on the targeted populations begs academic scrutiny. This dissertation seeks to provide an empirical view of the community-level dynamics that emerge in response to a community-based CLM program and their effects, in turn, on the CLM itself. An embedded multiple case study methodology, surveying longitudinally at two points in time using a mix of purposive and probability sampling techniques, was employed for this study. Two communities, Ahokwa in the Western Region, and Dwease in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, were selected as cases. The study finds that between the two points of observation - before and after the introduction of CLM - a profound reduction of WFCL is observed in Dwease, whereas much less reduction was observed in Ahokwa. A point-by-point analysis within and between the two villages reveals that individual, social and institutional factors worked together to transform behavior in Dwease. The principal change catalysts in Dwease were (a) a heightened awareness of child work hazards and a deepened parental investment in child education working at the individual level, coupled with (b) new norms created by the townâ€™s opinion leaders and the emergence of peer accountability at the social level, and (c) monitoring carried out by the Community Data Collection (CDC) and enforcement carried out by the Community Child Protection Committee (CCPC) - the two new institutions constituting CLM at the community-level. The underlying social dynamic proved to be decisive: a tipping point was crossed in Dwease whereby progressive opinion leaders in the community, who, once sensitized to recognize the pejorative effects of CL/WFCL, created new social norms and spurred a critical mass of community members to rid their community of CL/WFCL. This study shows that with sufficient local ownership, and if properly instituted, the tandem operation of child protection committees and child labor monitoring enables a community to effectively detect, police and mitigate the practice of child labor and WFCL.