Department of Community Development hails UNICEF’s

Tamale- Mr Williams Alagma, Northern Regional Director, Department of Community Development, has hailed the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) intervention programmes to end child marriages in the Region.

He said early child marriages remain the most common child protection issue in the Region, which was hampering the girl child education.

He said despite the challenges there are a number of child protection interventions being implemented by the UNICEF through the Department of Community Development and the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC), to reduce child marriage and other forms of child abuses.

Mr Alagma said these in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the side-line of a field visit by a Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Ghana Country Representative and Mr Ron Strikker, The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, to the Gbabshie Community within the Tamale Metropolis.

The visit was to enable the delegation have an interaction with the community on their role in protecting children from child abuse, as well as a community dialogue session on ending child abuse.

UNICEF and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) are also implementing a three year programme dubbed: Better Life for Girls (BLG) and it aims at providing adolescent girls in the country with knowledge, skills, and an enabling environment to enable them make informed decisions on issues affecting them.

Department of Community Development exists to facilitate the mobilization and use of available human and material resources to improve upon the living standards of deprived rural and urban communities within an effectively decentralized system administration through Adult Education and Extension Services

Mr Alagma said the Department engages parents, family and the community on their responsibilities according to the Family and Child Welfare policy.

He said with the support from UNICEF and its partners, many of these child protection issues has reduced drastically because the people have become conscious of the concept of the interventions being implemented.

Mrs Ruby Kokor Anang, UNICEF’s Child Protection Officer in Tamale, said the interventions are about how people bring up their children in a peaceful environment devoid of violence and abuse.

She said it began in 2016 in the three northern regions and so far it had registered over 160 communities and about 15 districts; stating that there had been a significant improvement regarding how people handle their children.

Mrs Anang, who said she was impressed with the community involvement in addressing social protection issues, added that statistics shows that once children were in school, automatically there was a protective environment for them.

Mr Strikker said he was impressed with the commitment of community members in giving their children a good life and as well ensuring that they go to school.

He said the intervention programme was targeted towards combating child abuse and the fight against child marriages in order to enable children, particularly girls to go to school as long as possible.

Madam Dufay said the use of facilitation tools including drama was commendable; as it raises the awareness about the importance of protecting children from violence, and girls from early marriage.

As part of activities during the interaction, the children, parents and all stakeholders present pledged to support the Ghana Against Child Abuse Campaign (GACA) initiative and to ensure that its objectives were achieved.

The objective of the GACA initiative is to use theatre as a social drive to spread the need for child protection, and thus to protect the Ghanaian child against all forms of abuses.

Source: Ghana News Agency

   

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