POSTED August 4, 2021
Helping kids advocate for their guardians and government to step up to keep them safe
Learn more about a child-friendly accountability project launch in Ghana
By William Anim-Dankwa, communications manager, Ghana
Children should enjoy their childhood, playing and learning as they prepare for their future. Unfortunately, many kids in Ghana are not getting the chance to live and dream fearlessly.
In many parts of the country, children face abuse; they’re neglected, and they’re denied the essentials such as toilets, quality healthcare and justice. This happens in many countries where children have no voice, no platform and are not meaningfully engaged in decisions that affect them.
This is why we’ve launched an initiative in several countries where we work — and now Ghana — termed Child-Friendly Accountability (CFA). It gives children the opportunity to participate in ensuring local authorities and government at the regional level are committed to protecting them.
So far, 13 CFA clubs have been formed in communities to create awareness and encourage children, parents and communities to help make sure kids are accessing their rights.
To kick-start the project, we brought together more than 100 children, managers of government institutions and opinion leaders at the Tamale Sports Stadium.
Iddrisu Sanday, the northern regional director for the government’s department of children, challenged parents to raise their children responsibly, keeping them safe from harm. He encouraged parents to take full responsibility of activities, such as rallies, that involve their kids, as these can sometimes get violent and lead to injuries.
Further, the regional director advised children to remind their parents to provide for their basic needs, such as access to toilets. “Children are not asking for too much but for basic things that will ensure their safety,” he said, urging communities that will benefit from CFA to play their part in helping children realize their rights.
“Child-friendly accountability is not only about giving children a voice; it also requires children and youth to participate in identifying problems and solutions,” said the regional director. “It demands that children and youth engage in an informed dialogue with decision-makers about issues of concern to them. It is most powerful when children and youth are seeing the tangible results of their actions.”
Esenam Kavi De Souza, our Ghana country manager, pointed out how far this issue extends. “Child abuse, and its financial burden on the country, is estimated at over $200 million, the equivalent to one percent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product,” she said. Add to that that UNICEF’s 2015 child-protection base-line report, which indicates about 3.4-million children in Ghana experience all forms of mistreatment, including medical and social-protection issues.
Meanwhile, child representatives between the ages of 13 and 17 presented a communique to government through the department of children. They want to voice their displeasure that children are treated as adults in the court system, and they hope to encourage the building of safe spaces for their generation.
Opinion leaders and groups present commended Children Believe on the initiative and pledged their support to ensure children are given a voice and the support needed to thrive.
ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):
Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.
About ChildFund Alliance:
A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of 12 child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in more than 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.