The Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC), Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah has called on the government to initiate a plan and budget to promote the welfare of children in the country.
She said the budget should outline the needed provisions which will address issues of nutrition, health, education as well as security for future generation.
Mrs. Azumah-Mensah made this known on the floor of Parliament, on the commemoration of the AU Day of the African Child which falls on 16th June every year.
African Union (AU) Day, of the African Child, is set aside to commemorate the massacre of some school children in Soweto, South Africa, who were marching against the discriminatory apartheid educational system.
The theme for this year’s celebration is ; “Planning and Budgeting for Children : Our Collective Responsibility”.
Mrs. Azumah-Mensah noted that MOWAC has an important role to play in formulating, promoting, coordinating and monitoring all policies and programmes that empower women and children.
She was of the view that issues about gender and children should be included into programmes of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies at the national, regional and district levels.
The implementation of Ghana’s Early Childhood Care and Development Policy is another strategy geared towards stimulating interest in investing in children.
She emphasised that planning and budgeting will administer the implementation and enforcement of laws that will protect children from the numerous abuses and exploitation, adding, there is the need for parents to be more responsible in planning and budgeting for their children.
Contributing to the statement, the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West, Mrs. Frema Osei Opare, called for a direct gender and social budgeting that will focus on the development of children. She urged government to increase budget on children at the district level to eliminate all forms of child labour and abuses.
Mrs. Osei Opare called for the establishment of a child protection committee that will focus on the welfare of children, including pre-education, health and security.
The Member of Parliament for Asawase, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, called on the government to make secondary education free, to enable every child further their education after Junior High.
He observed that, exceptions from the National Health Insurance, that affect children be reconsidered to secure the welfare and safety of children in the country.
…..And the children loved the “African cinderama”
The Africa Union (AU) Day of the Child was yesterday commemorated with a debate and the enactment of a drama entitled “Cinderama”. The topic for the debate was “Violence against Children and Sexual Violence and Corporal Punishment in Schools.”
The drama emphasised the need for Government to remain committed to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which reaffirms the view that children need special care and protection because of their vulnerability.
The CRC also places special emphasis on the role of the family in the care and protection of children and the vital role of international co-operation in securing children’s rights.
The AU Day of the Child and the International Day against Child Labour are commemorated in June every year.
This year’s AU Day of the Child was organised jointly by Plan Ghana and ActionAid Ghana, both Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) committed to the promotion and protection of children’s rights.
The occasion was organised against the background of a study on Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in schools which was initiated and sponsored by Plan Ghana, as part of Plan International’s global campaign dubbed “Learn without Fear” to create a safe school environment for children to study.
The study reveals that 14 per cent of school children have been sexually abused, girls being the most vulnerable while 67 per cent of the victims are in Senior High Schools, 28 per cent in Junior High Schools and 5 per cent in Primary Schools.
The study also reveals that 53 per cent of sexual abuse occurs in school environments and 47 per cent at home.
The study identifies that poverty, sexual pleasure, lack of parental control and care, and peer influences are the main factors that influence CSA.
According to the study, sexual abuse can result in teenage pregnancy, infection with Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), while victims no longer enjoy and feel safe in school, suffer stigmatisation and are unable to concentrate on their studies.