The ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Local Government and Rural Development, in collaboration with UNICEF, have launched a national campaign to protect children against abuse.
A statement from the organisers encouraged Ghanaians to join a movement called Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA), whose logo was unveiled by the Mrs Samira Bawumia, wife of the Vice President.
Currently in Ghana more than 90 per cent of children have experienced some form of physical violence.
More than 21 per cent of women aged between 20 and 24 years were married before the age of 18. Sixteen per cent of girls aged between 15 and 19 years old had their first experience of sexual intercourse forced against their will.
While an estimated 23 per cent of children, aged between five and 14 years, are engaged in some form of economic activity in Ghana, this high level of abuse of all forms has prompted the need for stakeholders to take stronger action to stem the tide.
The statement said GACA’s objective was in line with the Government’s Child and Family Welfare and Justice for Children policies that provide the framework for strengthening the child protection system to prevent and respond appropriately to issues of child abuse.
Explaining more about the GACA Movement, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, said:
“What we seek to achieve ultimately with the Ghanaians against Child Abuse Movement is to mobilise communities, parents, traditional rulers, families and individuals across our country to stand against all forms of child abuse.
“This call to action is for everyone to be committed to ensuring a safer Ghana for our children and put children first. We invite everyone to become a Ghanaian against Child Abuse – I am a GACA and I call on you too to become a GACA.”
Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, expressed her support for the movement and said: “As the GACA Movement is launched today I call on all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to commit resources to ensure regular
engagements with families and communities.”
Mrs Bawumia expressed her support to the GACA Movement to stop child abuse saying “As a mother, ensuring the protection and well-being of children is extremely important to me. So today I pledge to be a GACA. And I personally pledge to support the call on all Ghanaians to take action against all forms of child abuse.”
UNICEF Ghana Representative, Rushnan Murtaza, said: “The timing of the launch of this important movement could not be more appropriate.
“For the success and future of any country, we must ensure the protection, safety and opportunities for all children. We are excited for the potential momentum and impact of the GACA Movement, which encourages the spirit of intolerance and speaking out.
“UNICEF and partners are confident that it won’t be long before we see that every Ghanaian has become a champion against child abuse and declared themselves a GACA.”
The statement said the GACA would use various channels, including the media, to create awareness on child abuse.
The Movement would also mobilise nationwide support to provide a safe and protective environment for children to develop to their full potential.
It is anticipated that this movement will help to change the narrative of how Ghanaians protect children from all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation.
GACA is led by the Government in collaboration with UNICEF and with the support of Global Affairs Canada, the Korea International Co-operation Agency and the United States Agency for International Development.