Child labour or skills training? A rights-based analysis of children’s contributions to household survival in Ghana

Simon Mariwah, University of Cape Coast
Kobina Esia-Donkoh, University of Cape Coast

The high incidence of poverty in Africa means that households explore multiple survival strategies, one of which is heavy reliance on their children’s productivity. Therefore, this paper examines children’s contribution to household survival in the context of child rights, child labour and skill training. Using a qualitative approach, this paper draws on 323 interviews and 31 focus group discussions conducted with children, parents and key informants in eight (8) communities from two (2) ecological zones in Ghana. The results showed that child porterage and selling are the commonest activities children engage in to generate income to support their families. While some parents and children see child work as a contribution to the survival of their households, others see it as part of children’s upbringing and socialisation. The study recommends that in the context of high poverty, children’s involvement in income-generating activities can be substantially reduced if parents are economically empowered.

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Presented in Session 51: Child labor and vulnerability: trends and national policies