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Religious leaders engaged on child protection

Religious leaders
Religious leaders

The Northern Regional Department of Children has organised a two-day workshop to engage religious leaders on child protection in the region.

The workshop brought together Christian and Islamic leaders to deliberate on ways to utilise religious platforms to change peoples’ reluctance towards protecting children against various abuses.

It was aimed at maximising influence from religious leaders to their fellows to harness the relevance of child protection laws and rights in the country.

Mr Sanday Iddrisu, the Northern Regional Director of the Department of Children, who made a presentation during the workshop in Tamale, took participants through a session of understanding child protection to equip them with an in-depth knowledge on the subject, which would enable them to act accordingly.

Mr Iddrisu said it was prudent to involve religious leaders in issues relating to children because they had the masses, adding most religious leaders doubled as social workers and parents, who were recognised as key role models in child protection.

He urged religious leaders to inculcate social and behavioural change messages in their teachings, impart attitudes of parents and guardians to make them conscious of protecting children in line with existing child protection policies.

Reverend Dr Ebenezer Tetteh Kpallam, the District Pastor of Gomoa Kyiren Church of Pentecost, who took participants through the biblical mandates of child protection, said protecting children was a primary role of the church, adding various stages of church history showed that child protection was a business of the church.”

He appealed to Christians to abstain from misinterpretation portions of the Bible, urging them to learn to differentiate between abuse and discipline.
He said, “Think about the future and treat children the way you want the future to be. What the future will be depends on what we do with children now.”

Sheikh-Mohammed Mustapha, an Islamic teacher at the Ambariya Senior High School in Tamale, taking participants through Islamic mandates of child protection, said Allah, in His wisdom, provided for parents to enable them sustain children, hence children must be treated with extra care.

He called on Muslims to obey instructions of the Quran in their daily involvement with children, reminding them that Islam frowned on child abuses, including aborting a child, which was considered a harm to children.

Madam Joyce Odame, a Children Protection Officer at UNICEF Ghana, said UNICEF had supported the implementation of child and family welfare policy since 2016, which articulated the importance of the roles of religious leaders within the child protection systems in Ghana.

She noted that there were no significant differences in the prevailing violence against children between rural and urban areas and the overall acceptance of violence remained high across all wealth quantities and regions.

She said UNICEF would continue to work with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies to strengthen their capacities to effectively create safe and protective environments for all children.

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