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Regional News of Monday, 7 August 2017

Source: Charles Addo

Gender Ministry rolls out comprehensive action plan to address ‘Streetism’

Gender Minister, Otiko Afisa Djabah in discussion with stakeholders.

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has launched a comprehensive project to address the rising number of children, persons with disability as well as young adults living their daily lives on Ghana’s streets.

The project dubbed ‘Operation Get Off the Street Now for Better Life’ is intended to address high level of streetism and also outlines clear beginnings, challenges and prevention strategies to manage the severe societal problem which poses a serious threat to Ghana’s national security and development.

Under the project, the ministry together with other various stakeholders will identify and deliver the core set of basic services to secure the reintegration of street children.

‘Operation Get Off the Street Now for Better Life’ will also focus on strengthen policies that address the root cause of streetism in Ghana.

Besides these, the ministry will as well develop mechanisms for coordinating activities of organizations involved in delivering services to street children and conduct advocacy activities to lobby support in addressing the situation.

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisa Djabah speaking at the event told the media that, her ministry is keenly focusing on the project to stop the harmful and hazardous practice that infringes on the right of children to education and also protect them from physical, psychological abuse.

The Minister in her discussion disclosed that, the dignity and full potential of young person and persons living with disability in Ghana will be under real threat so long as they continue to live and operate from the street.

She also stressed that, no amount of money made by young people, especially children on the street will worth their educational lost.

According to the Gender Minister, census conducted by the Ministry on street children in Greater Accra Region in 2011 discovered that, about 60,495 children live and work on the street. Out of this number, 66% are migrant children and 18% are urban dwellers among other smaller groups.

The census also showed that, street children in Greater Accra Metropolis alone had approximately 50,000 children. Other areas captured in the report that had significantly less children were Ga East District with 1757, Ga West Municipal-Amasaman with 5,768.

Figures also showed that, Ashaiman, Nungua Teshie, Dangme West-Shai Osudoku and Ningo Prampram also had 2,031 children on the street.

The Social Welfare Department of the Ministry using these statistics as a benchmark therefore projected that; there could be at least 80,000 children on the streets of Greater Accra alone by the end of 2016.

This trend, Madam Otiko described as worrying and embarrassing situation. She however revealed that, the Gender Ministry through hard work has developed a comprehensive action plan using findings and recommendations of Child Protection System Report which she strongly believes will help reduce the current prevailing rate of streetism in Ghana.

The Minister insisted that, beginning this August 2017, the Ministry is hitting the ground running by identifying street dwellers. And once identified, a special arrangement will be made for children of school-going age to be enrolled back to school.

She added that, identifiable young adults will also be provided with skills and entrepreneurial training to boost their income earning capacity. Whiles those with traceable information will be made to reunite with their families with some support packages from the Gender Ministry.

The Madam Otiko Afisa Djabah added that, since the project is very comprehensive in nature, it will as well link the poorest of the poor to the LEAP Programme as well as the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme, the latest initiative of President Akufo-Addo administration.