The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), has charged its stakeholders to be effective and innovative in service delivery to the most vulnerable in society.
Innovation is a driver of growth in the world today and have made huge inroads in the development of society, through which the most vulnerable have been reached for Social Protection Interventions, Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Caretaker Minister of MoGCSP, said.
Mrs Dapaah, who also the substantive Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, made the observation at the 2021 two-day annual summit held in Accra on the theme: “Innovation for Service Delivery”.
She said due to digitization in most Social Protection Interventions in the world currently, to ensure productivity, accessibility and accountability, the Ministry had also taken a cue.
The Minister noted that activities such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP), had now evolved from manual to electronic targeting and payment to beneficiaries.
“This has considerably reduced the turnaround times for disbursement, improved accountability and enhanced the overall beneficiary experience,” she added.
She said the Ministry in collaboration with partners had introduced electronic systems and strategies to facilitate the effective and efficient case management for social protection, domestic violence, and vulnerability issues.
These include the Orange Support Centre, the Boame Mobile App and the Helpline of Hope were people could call directly and make a request or compliant for assistance, she stated.
Mrs Dapaah added that a child marriage portal had also been launched to give the public information and could be accessed on www.cm.MoGCSP.gov.gh.
She hinted that in the coming years, the Ministry would reach more vulnerable groups saying, it demanded substantial investment in innovation and technology to achieve this.
She urged stakeholders to ponder on ways to deliver services efficiently and effectively without compromising on the quality for the benefit and betterment of vulnerable groups in the country.
The Minister commended the Government and development partners for their efforts in helping to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency in the implementation of Ghana’s social protection system, to improve the socio-economic situation of the vulnerable and marginalised.
This year’s summit seeks to review the 2020/2021 performance of the Ministry with the aim of identifying challenges and drivers for effective service delivery.
It is also to agree on strategies with stakeholders that would enhance innovation through technology to improve service delivery.
Ms Anne Claire-Dufay, the UNICEF Country Representative to Ghana, commended the Ministry for the innovative Interventions put in place over the period.
She called for more action to address teenage pregnancy, early marriage and child violence, which were the major challenges facing adolescent girls.
She said research collated by UNICEF revealed that almost all adolescent girls were exposed to psychological aggression and nearly one in five experienced severe physical punishment.
The research indicated that adolescent girls are at heightened risk of physical, psychological and sexual violence, with 22 per cent having suffered sexual abuse in the past 12 months.
One adolescent girl in every 10 had had sex below the age of 15, in comparison to one in every 14 adolescent boys, she added.
According to the research, one in five young women were married or in union before attending their 18th birthday and more than nine out of every 10 girls who are married were not attending school.
Ms Dufay noted that the statistics were worrying and continued to pose a challenge to the development and progress made in so many areas of child rights and gender equality.
She said such issues were multi-faceted and required integrated, cross-sectoral and innovative approaches to provide interventions aimed at child protection, health, education and social protection.
She urged the Ministry to address the challenge as many girls, particularly in rural communities, had their dreams and plans shattered as a result of social and cultural norms which continued to blight progress.
Dr Agnes Ntibanyurwa, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative, speaking on the mandate of the UNFPA, pledged continued support to the Ministry.
She said the UNFPA would support the Ministry towards the elimination of Sexual and Gender Based Violence as well as harmful practices to promote holistic and sustainable gender strategies to protect and empower women and girls for the good of the country.
Mrs Florence Ayisi Quartey, the Acting Director, Department of Children, gave a brief overview of assessment of the Ministry’s 2020-2021 sector performance, adding that in spite of the challenges, the Ministry made some achievements.
The Ministry’s achievements included 76 per cent of LEAP beneficiaries registered onto the NHIS, Affirmative Action Bill submitted to Cabinet, youth empowerment with vocational skills for gainful employment, thousands of girls and boys sensitized on sexual and reproductive health rights and Sexual, Gender Based Violence (SGBV), launch of SWIMS and ISSOP.
120 boys and girls benefited from the National Gender Equality Clinic,