By Prince Kurupati
Ivory Coast First Lady Dominique Ouattara is intensifying her fight against child labour in the country. Recently, the First Lady roped in various artists in the country to help her amplify the message on the fight against child labour in all corners of the country. The First Lady took the occasion of the launch of the 5th edition of the Wara Tour to welcome all artists that will help in propagating the message on the fight against child labour.
Speaking at the launch of the 5th edition of the Wara Tour where she assumed the role of ‘godmother’ of the tour, Dominique Ouattara first took time in thanking all the artists who graced the occasion and accepted the call to become ambassadors on the fight against child labour. “I cannot quote you all because, to my great joy, you are very numerous at this ceremony. But know that I have for each of you a great affection and I thank you for your presence,” she said.
In her address, the First Lady of Ivory Coast said that for a long time, she has worked hard for the well-being of vulnerable women and children. She said that her work with Children of Africa Foundation starting all the way back in 1998 is a testament of her determination to raise the well-being of all the vulnerable groups in society. As such, the call to become the godmother of the 5th edition of the Wara Tour Caravan is something she did not think about twice as it aligns with her vision to free the country from all instances of child labour. She went on to state that her ascension to become the godmother of the Tour could not have come at a better time as the theme of the 5th edition – NO TO CHILD LABOUR IN COCA FARMING – resonates with her “personal commitment against child labour”.
The First Lady said that her involvement with organizations fighting child labour including with the National Monitoring Committee has managed to bear some success with regards to uplifting the lives of women and children. However, some of their efforts have been derailed by external parameters which include illegal immigration, the fight against poverty and the income of the planters. It is these external parameters that the First Lady is looking to address and curtail as a way of paving the way for the total elimination of all forms of child labour.
Dominique Ouattara acknowledged that the fight against child labour is something that cannot be done by one man or one organization but it’s something that needs collective support from everyone if the desired end game is to be achieved. “Child labour in general is a problem that concerns us all and against which we can act, each at his level,” she said.
In her concluding remarks, the First Lady praised and thanked the founder of the Wara Tour citizens initiative Abou Nidal stating, “I would like to thank you for your commitment to our children through your various awareness caravans. This year, you have decided to say no to child labour in coca farming. I would like to congratulate you and all the artists who accompanied you for this citizens’ initiative that honours your corporation.”
To ensure that the Wara Tour Caravan records success in achieving its objective in the fight against child labour in cocoa farming, the First Lady said she is “contributing 10 million CFA francs to help you (WARA TOUR Caravan) travel within the country.” She also offered a sum of “15 million CFA to all artists who came to participate in the training seminar on child labour.”
To all the artists who signed up to help in the fight against child labour, the First Lady’s parting message encouraged them to keep working for the betterment and upliftment of the communities, “You have the gift to make us dream, to transport us and to make us feel the most vivid emotions. You also have the power to educate us and awaken our consciousness through your art. Do not hesitate to take up this fight through your respective artistic works, in order to preserve our children against these harmful practices.”