Regional News of Monday, 7 January 2013

Source: GNA

All need to work together to protect children – NGO

A child’s rights Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) has called for all to work together to give adequate protection to children to assist their growth and development.

The Defence for Children International (DCI)-Ghana, said everything must be done to discourage their abuse and maltreatment.

Dr George Oppong, its Executive Director, described as disheartening the prevalence of child sex offences including defilement and forced marriages as well as child labour.

His organization received reports on a total of 165 such cases in the Kumasi Metropolis and the Obuasi Municipality, last year, and referred these to the appropriate state institutions for action.

Dr Oppong said they also provided “psycho-social counselling” for some of the victims alongside legal assistance and payment of their medical bills.

Addressing a day’s meeting with stakeholders, made up of representatives from the Police Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), NGOs, and the Departments of Social Welfare and Women and Children, he underlined the need for them to network, to ensure effective collaboration of their efforts.

The meeting provided the platform to share information on the “Girl Power Project” being piloted in Kumasi and Obuasi, to offer girls and young women the opportunity to pursue education careers and trades acquisition.

The project, funded by the Netherlands Government, is also meant to fight gender-based violence against girls and young women.

Dr Oppong said the DCI-Ghana would continue to cooperate with all groups and institutions to strengthen child protection support through capacity-building initiatives.

They had formed “Child Rights Clubs” in schools and communities in to create the awareness on the rights of children.

About 4,000 girls and young women have been targeted to benefit from the five-year project.