By: Rebecca Ekpe.
Solidaridad, an international Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has launched its RECLAIM Sustainability programme at a brief ceremony in Accra.
The five-year programme, which is being implemented by Solidaridad and Trust Africa, with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, seeks to contribute to sustainable and inclusive cocoa, oil palm and gold supply chains, in which producers receive a fair value for their produce and work under safe conditions, without the use of child labour.
Also, land rights and forests are protected. It also seeks to improve the capacity of cocoa and oil palm farmers and miners to bargain for equitable access and sustainable use of natural resources.
Farmers, artisanal small-scale miners and workers in Ghana are key players in tackling major challenges such as poverty and climate change, yet their voices are often unheard. The RECLAIM Sustainability! programme will, therefore, create a civic space where the interests, voices and rights of farmers, workers and citizens are represented and heard in decision making, while promoting a supportive public sector, a responsible private sector, and a vibrant and strong civil society. This, Solidaridad believes, is needed to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable economy, with prosperity and inclusion for all, as well as healthier ecosystems.
The Regional Director of Solidaridad West Africa, Isaac Kwadwo Gyamfi, called for a responsible private sector that implements comprehensive policies, and innovative and inclusive business models for truly sustainable sourcing, production, trade and investment. “Civic space in Ghana’s agro-ecological landscape is narrowed and continues to shrink. In some African countries, the space for effective policy formulation and engagement is repressed, obstructed or even closed. Opening up civic space must, therefore, involve local, national and international engagement, as well as capacity building and institutional strengthening,” he added.
The Executive Director of Trust Africa, Dr Ebrima Sall, said his organization was pleased to partner Solidaridad to build the capacity of farmers and other workers, and civil society to strategically position them in the civic space in Ghana and West Africa to contribute to decision-making to influence policy at the national level.
“What we at Trust Africa find most exciting about the RECLAIM Sustainability! programme is its great transformative potential. In the next five years, we should see greater equity in the value chains that the programme is working on, decent working conditions and living wages for all, economic rights, and gender equity,” he said.
The Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker, said the Dutch government was happy to support the RECLAIM. Sustainability! programme as it support’s the government’s strategic plan for Ghana. Mr. Strikker pledged the Dutch government’s continued partnership with the Government of Ghana, the private sector and civil society through dialogue to eliminate child labour and mainstream gender in the thematic sectors of agriculture.
The RECLAIM Sustainability! programme is being implemented by a consortium of six Solidaridad Regional Expertise Centres, (REC) and three external consortium partners. In Africa, Solidaridad West Africa will be working with Trust Africa and Civil Society Organizations in Ghana to reclaim sustainability for farmers, cooperatives and other workers. The five-year programme is being implemented in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.