When tackling child labour in smallholder supply chains, one of the main root causes is quite simply an absence of schools in the area, especially within walking distance, which means the child is more likely to be helping on the farm. Other factors also play a part – while primary school is usually free, secondary school requires the parents to pay a fee. A lack of birth certificates can also deprive children of being able to access schooling. Supporting the establishment of new schools, refurbishing old schools and providing school kits are all ways in which Olam helps to increase the opportunity for the children of farmers to receive an education.
When thinking of how to tackle issues such as food insecurity, poverty and deforestation, women are often one of the main stakeholder groups who can drive change. The issue is that we often work in traditional rural settings where women do not usually take frontline roles or feel they are able to speak or participate in decision-making processes. Men often manage families’ finances, even if the women are carrying out the money-making activities. So we must empower women, socially and financially, to have the confidence to get involved without causing issues in the community. Education is essential as outlined in this blog by the Olam Cocoa Ghana team which is working specifically with women to educate them on the role of forests in minimising climate change impacts. Read more in our Diversity and Inclusion priorty area.
We are committed to transferring skills to national populations, where they may not have previously existed. In Gabon, for example, while current management roles are filled primarily by expat palm industry experts, a Nationalisation Policy led by the Olam Palm Gabon Training and Development will ensure that Gabonese nationals fill many of the roles by 2025. Equally, Olam Palm Gabon employs over 11,000 people, many of whom have never had a full time job before. Through training and coaching they are learning many agricultural skills to take back to their communities. This also happens around our coffee plantations and rice farm in Nigeria.