Gender Children Covid

The Ministry of Gender, Women and Social Protection through the Department of Children (DOC) has begun a two day engagement with traditional and religious leaders in the Northern, Savannah and North East Regions.

The engagement which commenced on Wednesday in Tamale, sought to educate and create awareness on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the need to strengthen the protection of children from various abuses in the midst of the virus.

The event, organised as part of the advocacy for Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA) campaign, engaged with traditional and religious leaders from six districts including; the Sagnarigu Municipal, Bole, Bunkpurugu, West Gonja, Nanumba South and Gushegu Districts, all in the three regions.

The GACA, is a campaign against child abuse launched in 2017 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 child abuse and respond appropriately to such issues.

The event was held in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Department of Community Development, Obaapa Development Foundation and other partners.

Madam Florence Ayisi Quartey, Acting Director of DOC,speaking to journalists, said the two-day events would educate and train participants on COVID-19 and its implications on children, the GACA campaign, Rights of the child, the use of child protection tools messages to better educate and advocate for behavioral change among others.

She said the impact of COVID-19 had many effects on the rights of the child, and thereby increasing their chances of being abused in their communities.

She said children were vulnerable, especially during this COVID-19 times and were liable to exploitations and exposed to various forms of abuses, including; sexual abuse, child marriage, child labour, verbal abuse among others.

Madam Quartey said research conducted by the Ministry in 2017 indicated high percentage of children being abused verbally, sexually, physically and or emotionally, adding that “9 out of 10 children confirmed they had been through various forms of abuses and that’s why we’re very key on spreading this campaign to go everywhere that the abuse in the system needs to reduce”.

She urged citizens, especially parents, and traditional and religious leaders to support the campaign to help ensure that children were well protected and observing the safety precautions during this period of COVID-19.

Madam Margaret Gwada, Chief UNICEF Field Office, in Tamale, in a speech read on her behalf indicated that a rapid assessment conducted by UNICEF on violence and abuse at home during COVID-19 in May 2020 revealed that 32 per cent of respondents including; adolescent and young people reported having seen or observed abusive behaviors within their families during the past two months.

She said the traditional and religious leaders are important players in the efforts to implement measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, and urged them to do so while promoting child protection messages during the pandemic period.

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