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Action on Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture

Latest news

Website launched for the Action on Children’s Harmful Work programme

Launched today is the new The Action on Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture (ACHA) programme website. The ACHA website will be the hub for the research and evidence coming out of the seven-year, DFID-funded research programme that started in January 2020.

ACHA will initially work in Ghana with a focus on cocoa, inland fisheries and vegetables. Work will then expand to include other countries and commodities.

The aim of the programme is to build evidence on:

  • the forms, drivers, and experiences of children’s harmful work in African agriculture.
  • interventions that are effective in preventing harm that arises in the course of children’s work.

To coincide with the launch the programme has published the comment piece ‘Child labour in cocoa from a European ‘doughnut’ perspective‘ and it’s first paper ‘Understanding Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture: Points of Departure’.

Building an evidence base

ACHA intends to step back from dominant, and often sensationalist, public and policy discourses around child labour. The idea is to examine how a reframing from child labour to children’s work might help us to understand better the complexities and realities of children’s work within agriculture.

It is currently assumed that most of the children’s work in Africa is within the agricultural sector. However, the evidence base is very poor in regard to the prevalence of children’s harmful work in African agriculture; the distribution of children’s harmful work across different agricultural value chains, farming systems and agroecologies; the effects of different types of value chains and models of value chain coordination on the prevalence of harmful children’s work; and the efficacy of different interventions to address harmful children’s work. These are the areas that ACHA will address and will profile across its website in latest news, opinions and research.

Working with partners

ACHA is a collaborative programme led by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). ACHA is directed by Professor Rachel Sabates-Wheeler ( and Dr James Sumberg (

Programme partners include:

  • African Rights Initiative International (ARII)
  • University of Bath
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • The Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, University at Buffalo
  • The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI)
  • University for Development Studies, Tamale
  • IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Sussex
  • Fairtrade Foundation
  • ISEAL Alliance
  • University of Ghana, Legon

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