The Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) project, has observed that gaps in policy implementation are some of the real challenges confronting the safety of girls and young women in the country.
The GAA project is a platform that aims at building the capacity of civil society organisations(CSOs) in 10 lower and lower middle-income countries in Asia and Africa to effectively advocate and influence policy making related to equal rights for girls and young women.
Dr George Oppong, the Executive Secretary of Defense for Children International, who made the observation in Accra at a GAA meeting with CSOs and partners said less than one per cent of the national budget allocated to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) was a setback.
He said the child protection programme which sought to impact knowledge, policy and resources “cannot function well when there are gaps in these three cardinal points”, he said.
Dr Oppong also noted that the lack of clear mandate for inter-ministerial co-ordination in terms of capacity as well as lack of data also prevented the real safeguard of girls and young women.
He therefore called for the strengthening of community child protection units adding: “By the next years’ young women in Ghana should be free from gender based violence.”
Madam Fadimata Alaincher, the Country Director of Plan International Ghana, the implementers of the project said the key strategies of the project would include mobilising and networking, research and lobbying as well as stakeholders and media engagement.
She said the project regions included Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern, Upper West and Eastern Region.
“Plan Ghana is working with three local implementing partners comprising Child Research and Resources Centre in Eastern, Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme in the Upper West and Songtaba in the Northern Region,” she said.
Madam Alaincher said the five-year project spanning 2016 to 2020 with funding support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs would also build a strong network to advocate economic empowerment and descent work opportunities for girls and young women.
She said the overall goal of the programme would reduce child marriage, sexual violence and abuse against children, bring down commercial sexual exploitation of children and girls and young women would have increased access to decent work opportunities.
Madam Alaincher said CSOs networks would use the evidence to support the two relevant ministries MoGCSP and the Ministry of Employment Labor Relations as well the National Youth Authority in the development of their implementation and monitoring plan related to National Employment Agency and the National Gender Policy.
“The CSOs and girls and women’s organisations will continue to strengthen the effective and well-articulated implementation by continuous monitoring and linking with other actors within the private sector and with traditional and religious leaders,” she said.
Ms Joyce Obenewaa Darko, the Research Manager of Gender and Disability at the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), said the YEA had been promoting the economic empowerment of women where a lot of women had been encouraged to register unto their models with lots of them being deployed.
She said unemployment among women was very high, however, “Female persons with disability are being deployed unto our model,” she said.
Ms Darko said the YEA would continue to promote the economic empowerment of young women and girls by supporting research into unemployment needs of women in different geographic settings.
“We are also to strengthen mechanisms to ensure there is adequate gender balance development,” she said.
Dr Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, the Director Research and Policy, Trade Union Congress, said unemployment among the youth was twice the problem in the country.
“However, it is better in Spain, South Africa and Greece,” he said.
He also indicated that unemployment in Accra turned to be twice higher than the general unemployment in the country and was lower in rural areas.
Dr Nyarko Otoo therefore called for measures to address the menace as well as child labor issues.
Some participants who spoke with the Ghana News Agency said the existence of the platform was timely and called for it to be a mouth piece that would champion the plight of girls and young women as well liaising with stakeholders to make the goals of the platform worthwhile.