Children in cocoa harvest and processing
Cocoa trees are treated with pesticides and fungicides. Cocoa harvest is not restricted to one period per year and occurs over a period of several months to the whole year. Pods are harvested at multiple times during the harvest season because they do not all ripen at once. Pod ripening is judged by pod color, and ripe pods are harvested from the trunk and branches of the cocoa tree with a curved knife on a long pole. The pods are opened and wet beans are removed. Wet beans are transported to a facility so they can be fermented and dried. Many of these tasks could be hazardous when performed by children, according to the ILO. Mixing and applying chemicals can be hazardous due to pesticide contamination, especially because no protective clothing is worn during application. Clearing vegetation and harvesting pods can be hazardous because these tasks are often done using machetes, which can cause lacerations. This skill is part of normal development in children 15 to 17 years old, but is a higher risk in younger children. Many have wounds on their legs where they have cut themselves. Transport of the wet beans can also be hazardous due to long transport distances and heavy loads; hernias and physical injuries can occur. The director of the Save the Children Fund described "young children carrying 6 kilograms (13 lb) of cocoa sacks so heavy that they have wounds all over their shoulders." In 2002, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture investigated the prevalence of child labor in the cocoa industry. They found 284,000 children working in hazardous conditions in West Africa. Of this, 153,000 children applied pesticides without pro
ective equipment, others picked pods and opened them to get the beans; 64% of the children were younger than 14 and 40% of the children were girls. Children often began working at 6 am, worked 12-hour days and were beaten regularly. Education of child laborers Child laborers are less likely to attend school. They are kept out of school because families need their help on the farms, and 12-hour workdays make it difficult to attend school. In Cote d'Ivoire, 34 percent of children on cocoa farms attended school compared to 64 percent of children who did not work on farms. Only 33 percent of children from immigrant cocoa workers attended school, while 71 percent of the local children attended school. The Save the Children Fund, commonly known as Save the Children, is an internationally active non-governmental organization that promotes children's rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries. It was established in the United Kingdom in 1919 in order to improve the lives of children through better education, health care, and economic opportunities, as well as providing emergency aid in natural disasters, war, and other conflicts. In addition to the UK organisation, there are 30 other national Save the Children organisations who are members of Save the Children International, a global network of nonprofit organisations supporting local partners in over 120 countries around the world. Save the Children promotes policy changes in order to gain more rights for young people especially by enforcing the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Alliance members coordinate emergency-relief efforts, helping to protect children from the effects of war and violence.