The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has launched a programme to eradicate streetism and ensure that every citizen has quality access to social services which meets acceptable standards.
The initiative dubbed:”#Operation get off the Street now for a Better Life” was developed based on the findings and on the recommendations made in the Mapping and Analysis of the Child Protection System Report on strengthening Child and Family Welfare System.
The project is not a one-off event but a process towards identifying the numbers of persons on the streets, profiling, integrating them with their parents, caregivers and community.
It will be implemented in the three Phases, namely the short term, medium term and long term to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), most importantly Goal 1, 2 and 5.
The initial phase which will be one year will include Public Sensitization and the intended target group, mapping of hotspot areas and identification of shelters across the regions, data collection, management and analysis, re-integration activities of children of school going age, skills training and sending Persons With Disability to rehabilitation centres.
The second phase which is also a two-year term will include linking street persons to social protection interventions such as, LEAP program, National Health Insurance Scheme, Ghana School feeding program, Free SHS package; linking people on the street to acquire technical and vocational skills for employment and job creation and employable interventions such as Youth Enterprise Support, One Village, One Dam and One District, One Factory.
The last phase will include training of persons on the street to take advantage of reforestation, hospitality industry, the Youth Employment Agency and Planting for Food and Jobs.
Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection at a Press Conference in Accra on Tuesday named the target group as the Kayayie (Head Porters), hawkers, children beggars and those contracted to push disabled people and beggars who are adults.
Others are Persons with Disabilities and mental health problems, families on the streets, Displaced persons (international migrants) and begging contractors.
She said the increasing number of persons on the streets was an indicator of our weakened extended family value system and that the ill-effects and prevalence rate must be brought under control.
“Statistical evidence has revealed that there is approximately about 300,000 persons on the street,” she said.
Ms Djaba said the prevalence persons living on and off our streets was a measure that our governance structure and interventions was inadequately addressing the need of the vulnerable.
She said Ghana has developed many laws and policies such as the Children’s Act 1998 (Act 516), Children’s (Amendment’s Act, Act 937 of 2016), Juvenile Justice Act (Act 635), Domestic Violence (Act 732), Child and Family welfare policy and the Juvenile Justice Policy.
“Others are Human Trafficking Act (Act 692), Persons with Disability Act 2006 (Act 715), Beggars and Destitute Act (NLCD 392 of 1969), Mental Health Act 2012 and so on. However, the laws have not been effectively implemented. As a result, there is the need to intensify sensitization and enforcement of these laws and implementation of policies and programmes.”
The Gender Minister said a census conducted on street children by the Department of Social Welfare Department under the Ministry in the Greater Accra Region in 2011 discovered that about 60,495 children live and work on the street with 66 and 18 per cent migrant children urban dwellers respectively.