Agboville Activities Report
August 27, 2003 by Nadine Assemien Koffi
Edited by Vicki Walker

Nadine Assémien, CLASSE Leader in Côte d'Ivoire speaking to the soccer tournament audiences on behalf of child labor prevention and education.
On August 28, 2003, at the City Hall of Agboville, Winrock International Côte d'Ivoire launched an awareness-raising campaign on preventing child labor on cocoa farms.

The official opening ceremony of the workshop was chaired by the "Sous-Prefet of Agboville" representing the Prefect of the Agneby Region. Officials attended from the local government, the representative of the Ministry of Professional Training, the Ministry of Labor, village authorities, civil servants and Winrock's partners. The U.S. chocolate companies were represented by Mr. Bill Guyton, Executive Director of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), and the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) by Ms. Katherine Owens.

Many newsmen and representatives of women and youth associations participated in the ceremony. Forty (40) participants were planned for the workshop, and over seventy (70) attended and joined the discussion because of their interest in the issue.

After Ms. Koffi's welcoming speech, (the Coordinator of the CLASSE project), the Sous-Prefet acknowledged Winrock for choosing Agboville and officially declared the workshop on child labor on cocoa farms in Agboville opened.

It was observed that most children are inclined to work on farms during their school vacation which can expose them to labor risks like adults. It was noted that the issue of child labor in Côte d'Ivoire was misused (misconstrued) and many things were discussed about it. Therefore, it was important to give a clear explanation to the population during the workshop. We defined the concept of child labor on the basis of the Geneva Convention n°182 before detailing what Winrock was planning to do through the CLASSE project. We were followed by Mr. Bill Guyton, who thanked all the parties involved in the project because for him, CLASSE is a human development project.

Mr.Assamoi Yapo, the representative of the Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP), one of Winrock's partners, defined the major themes of interest of STCP, its areas of intervention and the technical training of the producers. Mr. Yapo concluded by defining the different areas of the STCP collaboration with Winrock International.

Local dancers at half-time in the Agboville Soccer Tournament to prevent child labor and promote education under the CLASSE Project.
For a better understanding of the involvement of the children in labor on cocoa farms, we used a participative strategy and brain-storming sessions to encourage the producers to describe themselves the level of child involvement and the dangers that they are exposed to. After the exchange of viewpoints with the producers, it was perceived that child involvement in the cocoa production process appeared to be not significant. We insisted anyway on the alternatives in education and the dangers to which children are exposed while working on the farms. We ended by giving more details about the activities and the perspectives of the CLASSE project.

An official lunch closed the workshop and the different delegations went to Grand Morie for the opening ceremony of the soccer tournament. This ceremony was chaired by the Sous-Prefet of Grand Morié assisted by the City Counselor, Mr. Bill Guyton, Ms. Katherine Owens (ICI), the Chief of Grand Morié village and Ms. Koffi.

After the Sous-Prefet official instructions to the soccer players, the women's exhibition match was played and ended by the score of one (1) goal for Grand Morié to zero (0) for Agboville. The children's match ended by the score of one (1) goal for Laoguié to zero (0) for Grand Morié. The adult match was won by Grand Morié with the score of three (3) to one (1). The different games were broadcast on the local radio (R.VA.) .

At the beginning of the matches and during the half-times, awareness-raising was done by a play of the SOTEKA theater company, the marching of the "sandwich children" and some messages from us. A fanfare (brass-band) played the whole game while women singers were performing.