Ensure release of ¢300m to protect children - The Ghana NGO Forum to presidency
Ghana NGO Forum has urged the presidency to ensure the full release of ¢300 million every year beginning from 2020 to adequately fund and implement existing policies and legal instruments to protect children.
They charged Parliament and the Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister to enforce the many policies and legal instruments on child protection such as the Child and Family Welfare Policy and Foster Care Regulations.
In a communique issued in Accra, the Forum expressed sincere appreciation to the President Akufo-Addo “for the support provided so far to vulnerable and struggling families such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), Capitation Grants, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), free maternal care, free school uniforms and bus rides, the School Feeding Policy and the Early Childhood Care and Development Policy.”
During the forum, the group concluded that the family is the primary unit in which children thrive and therefore must be supported in every way possible to perform its role in the healthy development of the child.
The Forum highlighted the responsibility for protecting children from neglect saying the “State is responsible for caring for out-of-home children and government must reflect an understanding of this lead role in its display of strong political will, strengthened legal framework, and above all adequate resource allocation and investment into the implementation of child protection policies and plans.”
The group also charged “Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) must play their role, one aspect of which is keeping government accountable in the provision of essential services for children in compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Also, in addition, The Ghana NGO Forum urged “Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) including churches, mosques and shrines are to use their platforms to discourage malpractices and violence against children.
They said Faith groups, are to educate their members and officers on preventing and responding to child neglect and abuse in line with the CRC and the relevant GOG polices.
They also want parents of children to be engaged and educated in the care and protection of their children stressing “this particularly applies to fathers who have traditionally been absent when it comes to childcare.”
As part of suggestions to firm up the issue of child protection, The Ghana NGO Forum called for a non-partisan technical group to advise the presidency on issues to do with child protection, possibly an Inter-ministerial Coordinating Committee on Child Protection chaired by the President or the Vice President.
They suggest a well-trained and resourced social worker to increase community awareness, respond promptly to incidents of abuse and strengthen families in communities across the country.
As part of recommendations, they say “members of the NGO Forum Organizing Committee for the bold initiative to convene Ghana’s Non-Governmental Organizations in a forum to inspire a constructive dialogue among participants to advance the cause of children in Ghana and in particular to clarify the roles of various stakeholders in the prevention of child neglect.”
The Ghana NGO Forum agreed to commit their collective efforts to ensure the successful implementation of the policies around child protection.
“We are committed to engage the national leaders, faith-based organizations, traditional authorities and other important stakeholders to actively contribute their time and energies to ensure the successful implementation of the policies,” the group said.
They have agreed to engage the Presidency, Gender Ministry, Media and other stakeholders to increase awareness on pressing issues with regards to Child Rights including Child Protection.
“We finally resolved to stick together as a Civil Society Coalition with a coordinating committee fully committed to the successful implementation of strategic decisions taken, coordination of our efforts and holding government accountable to its mandate with regards to preventing child neglect,” The Ghana NGO Forum said.