Gender Ministry to collect data on child marriage

Mrs. Sarah Adwoa Safo, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection says Government is collecting data to review the strategic framework on ending child marriage.

‘‘If you do not have data, it would be very difficult to tackle issues of this nature and it is about having the right data and strategies to sensitise our people,’’ she said.

She was interacting with selected school children on Monday as part of activities to mark the African Union (AU) Day of the African Child in Accra.

She said the Ministry would partner the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives at the local level to ensure that laws concerning child marriages were enforced.

The dialogue was also held as a platform for the children to be heard as indicated in Aspiration 10 of the AU Agenda 2040 key aspirations which states that, African children’s views matter.

Mrs Safo said the AU Agenda 2040 is the Agenda for children seeking to unlock the full potential of each child by fully protecting and realizing their rights.

‘‘You children will be the ones to drive the future of our continent for progress and peaceful co-existence which is the core ideals of Agenda 2063,’’ she said.

She said Ghana had ratified the African Children’s Charter and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and had also enacted the Children’s Act.

She said Government would reconstruct the Afua Sutherland Children’s Park into an ultra-modern facility for children and ensure that it was maintained properly and also construct recreational parks across the sixteen regions in the country.

The Minister said the Ministry would consider long term strategic plans and sustainable ways to tackle child streetism in the country since it had become a safe haven for refugees.

Dr Afisah Zakariah, Chief Director, MOGSCP said the objective for the celebration was to sensitise the general public on the 10 Aspirations of “Agenda 2040” with special emphasis on Aspirations 7 and 10.

She said it was also to create awareness on the need for all citizens to participate in the promotion and protection of the rights of children as spelt out in the 10 Aspirations and to promote the mainstreaming of Agenda 2040 into the National Development Framework to ensure sustained effort towards the goals.

She said in view of the 10 Aspirations and the results already chalked by Government in most of the areas, they had earmarked programmes to address the sections of the Aspirations that had seen limited progress and required urgent attention.

Dr Zakariah said they would hold Panel discussion by children on Agenda 2040 aspirations into the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) Framework focusing on Aspiration 7 and the generation of solutions to issues of teenage pregnancy and streetism.

The Ministry would send Press Releases through selected media houses on the theme and publish articles in selected national newspapers to inform and educate the public on the impact of Covid-19 on children, child labour, increasing number of street children, teenage pregnancy, among others.

She said there would be the production of video messages from management of the Ministry and key partners including children on social media platforms to increase awareness on the 10 Aspirations of Agenda 2040.

They would also share special posters summarising the aspirations of Agenda 2040 on social media to inform, educate and solicit involvement of the citizenry.

Mrs Florence Ayisi Quartey, Acting Director, Department of Children, said this year’s celebration presented an opportunity to Ghanaian leaders to take stock of the last five years and inspect the link between the African Children’s Charter and the Agenda, and what had to be done to strengthen the implementation of Agenda 2040.

She said a number of recommendations had been made in that direction including pro-active dissemination of the aspiration of Agenda 2040.

Prioritisation of protection and promotion of children’s rights, mass sensitisation and dissemination of messages on the Day, in various media by Civil Service Organisations (CSOS) in conjunction with government will be done.

Children will be involved in the planning and implementation of messages of the Day, especially the 2021 version.

The AU Day of the African Child was celebrated by member states of the African Union since 1991, and each year to commemorate the 1976 students uprising in Soweto, South Africa.

The African Committee of Experts on the Rights of the Child had adopted the theme: ‘‘30 years after the adoption of the Charter: accelerate implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children “for the 2021 DAC celebration.

The National theme for the celebration is, “Mainstreaming Agenda 2040 into the National Development Framework.’’

Agenda 2040: Fostering an Africa fit for children” is the framework to guide child protection interventions in the Africa region with the main objective to restore the dignity of the African child through assessment of the achievements and challenges faced towards the effective implementation of the African Children’s Charter.

The celebration is a call for serious introspection and commitment towards addressing the numerous challenges that children across the 16 regions of Ghana encountered.

Source: GNA

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