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Opinions of Thursday, 26 November 2015

Columnist: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Gender Ministry makes progress with girl child protection

To say that the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection under Nana Oye Lithur has lived up to expectation is quite true. Since the establishment of the ministry three years ago, it is being expanded with many government departments, yet it has done a lot in the areas of support for children and women.

Under its social protection portfolio it has rolled out a program to provide the less endowed in the country with funds under Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty scheme (LEAP).

Under this scheme a large number of poor women and men in some households throughout Ghana are given cash periodically for them to feed and clothe themselves and be able to support their children and wards.

If the attention being paid to the vulnerable men and women is good, the other initiative being taken by the ministry to deal with gender based violence in our homes and schools is equally good. The ministry is conscious of the negative impact of gender based violence in homes, communities and schools that need to be dealt with.

In relying on research findings, the minister says that school authorities and parents can drastically reduce figures of school related gender-based violence if they consciously put in effort to ensure that no school child suffers violence based on his/her gender.

Ghana’s education sector she says continues to record progress towards the attainment of gender parity at the basic level of education. However, sexual and gender-based violence is affecting girl child education in Ghana.

“Evidence indicates that school related gender based violence affects millions of children and adolescents worldwide. It is one of the worst manifestations of gender discrimination and violates a wide range of children’s rights. Education is critical in empowering and transforming the lives of young people, especially girls, yet widespread gender-based violence in and around schools seriously undermines the achievement quality, inclusive and equitable education for all children”, she said.

The Gender Minister further outlined major setbacks to girls’ education such as teenage pregnancy and early marriage, Nana Oye Lithur called on all stakeholders in the education sector to help bring an end to school-related gender-based violence.

She reiterated her ministry’s commitment to put in place the necessary legal and policy framework to address all issues that affect women’s rights and gave a strong indication of hope for Ghanaian women.

To be able to create awareness on this issue The Ministry has launched this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Accra.

The 16 Days Campaign begins on November 25 which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on December 10, International Human Rights Day held every year.

This year’s theme, ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All” drums home the importance of removing all barriers to girls’ education. She sympathized with girls and women in many parts of the world who have had their education affected by growing violence and conflict.

According to the Minister, this year’s campaign “is a direct response to increasing violence against education, especially of young girls and women, as in the case of forceful abduction of the Chibok school girls in Nigeria.

She appealed to school heads, teachers, parents to help address the problem of school related gender-based violence in Ghana. This initiative is good as it would dru home the need for all parents’ teachers an religious leaders to pay attention to girl children in our societies.

The 16 day awareness program by the ministry is in order. However there is the need for the program to be sustained in schools mosques and churches. This way most parents guardians and the children themselves would be able to contribute towards the protection of girls

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