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Regional News of Saturday, 11 August 2007

Source: GNA

Ahanta West celebrates AU Day of the African Child

Asemkow (W/R), Aug. 11-GNA-The public have been told to support efforts by the government to eradicate child trafficking, child labour and other forms of abuses that infringe on the rights of children because these abuses could result in the permanent destruction of a child's potentials.

Mr. John Hackman, Western Regional Director of Ghana National Commission on Children (GNCC) who made the call also urged parents to invest in their children's education since that was the only way to prepare them adequately to become efficient future leaders. He was speaking at the celebration of the Africa Union (AU) Day of the African Child in the Ahanta West district jointly organised by the GNCC and Ahanta West Area Development Programme of the World Vision at Asemkow, a fishing community near Takoradi on Friday. Mr. Hackman said parents could discourage their children from engaging in fishing, illegal mining, stone breaking and other menial jobs at the expense of their education by caring for them and providing them with all their needs.

He advised married couples to ensure that there was peace and harmony among family members because squabbles that subsequently led to divorce had resulted in the incidents of many children taking to the streets. Mr. Ernest Ofori Asamoah, Ahanta West District Programme Officer of World Vision said a survey conducted by his outfit revealed that teenage pregnancy, early marriages among girls and incidents of child neglect were on the increase in many communities.

He said, people in the community saw nothing wrong with child defilement, which was also widespread so far as the man who impregnated the child assumed responsibility for her upkeep. Because this was considered as a norm, children as young as 13 years old were impregnated by "irresponsible" people resulting in the abrupt ending of the child's education.

These, he noted, had resulted in high school dropout rates, truancy and gambling among the youth and widespread child labour and therefore called for closer collaboration between the chief, elders and community leaders and stakeholders to address the issues.

Mr. Asamoah said World Vision, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders had been organising forums to sensitise the public on the importance of education, particularly for the girl-child, parental responsibility, health and sanitation, and dangers associated with child trafficking and child labour, among others.

Mr. Abdulai Zak, District Coordinating Director commended World Vision and GNCC for their support to bring development to the people through their various interventions, and described them as "worthy development partners". He gave the assurance that the Assembly would continue to work hard to reduce poverty among the people. Earlier, hundreds of school children, joined by other youth went on a procession through the town as part of the celebrations. Mr. Hackman inaugurated a seven-member children's committee to oversee the affairs of the youth in the area. 11 Aug. 07

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