Accra, June 16, GNA- Madam Sarah Adwoa Safo, Minister of Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) has called for the protection of children from all forms of abuse to help them reach their full potential.
« Our children need an environment free from all forms of abuse and exploitation; they need an Africa that is fit for all children, they need a Ghana that is safe so that children can grow and reach their full potential, » she said.
The Minister was addressing a national forum to celebrate the 2021 African Union (AU) Day of the African Child on the theme: » Mainstreaming Agenda 2040 into the National Development Framework » in Accra.
She said there was a clear violation of Section 87(1-2) of the Children’s Act, 1998(Act 560), which prohibited exploitative child labour; given the numbers of abuse cases reported to the Police and the Department of Social Welfare, and it was common to see children on the streets engaging in activities that were bad for their development.’
Madam Safo said it was the responsibility of all leaders and the public to address the numerous challenges that children encountered across the continent as espoused in the 10 aspirations of Agenda 2040.
She said Agenda 2040: Fostering an Africa fit for children was a 25 years agenda for a long term and strategic progress in implementing children’s rights in Africa, adopted in 2016 by the Secretariat of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) and approved by the AU Executive Council of Ministers in 2017.
The Agenda 2040 was guided by 10 aspirations including the African Children’s Charter, as supervised by the African Children’s Committee, member states should provide an effective continental framework for advancing children’s rights, an effective child-friendly national legislative, policy and institutional framework should be in place in all Member States.
The Minister said the slogan: »Nothing for us without us » to the Ministry, implied that the voices of children were critical inputs into policies, programmes, and initiative to improve their survival, this year’s celebration was focused on listening to children’s voices in how to implement agenda 2040 in the community.
Dr Afisah Zakariah, Chief Director, MOGCSP,said the AU Assembly in 1991 passed a resolution designating June 16 as the “Day of the African Child” (DAC) in commemoration of the 1976 students’ uprising against an education skewed against the purposes of the apartheid regime in Soweto, South Africa.
Therefore the Day, she said, was celebrated annually to remember the children, adding that Ghana as a Member State of the AU, celebrated the DAC by pursuing vigorously the Union’s aim towards the realization of the rights of children from the family and community level up to the national and international levels.
She said the main focus for this year’s celebration was to sensitize the general public on the ten (10) aspirations of “Agenda 2040” with emphasis on Aspirations 7 and 10, create awareness on the need for all citizens to participate in the promotion and protection of the Rights of Children as spelt out in the 10 Aspirations.
She said it was also to promote the mainstreaming of Agenda 2040 into the National Development Framework to ensure sustained effort towards the goals and had served as an advocacy tool for the enhancement of visibility and promotion of children’s rights and welfare issues.
The theme for the celebration, she said was a call for serious introspection and commitment among African leaders and the public towards addressing the numerous challenges facing children across the continent as espoused in the 10 aspirations of Agenda 2040.
Dr Zakariah said the celebration was being done at the Community, Regional and National levels, addressing issues hindering the development of children.
During a panel discussion on ways the Agenda 2040 aspirations could be mainstreamed into the National Development Framework, student panellists called on Government and donor organisations to sponsor children whose parents were unable to provide their basic needs for school.
The panellists recommended the institutionalization of District Level Children’s Parliament for the voices of children in the rural and deprived communities to be heard.
They called for the provision funds for the implementation of the aspirations by 2040.
It was recommended that there should be friendly correctional approaches such as skills development for children in correctional centres.
Ms Lila-Karen Amponsah, Planning Analyst, National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), who read a speech and received a plea from the children on behalf of the Executive Director of NDPC, said the Commission would incorporate the inputs and recommendations of the children into the policy framework of the country for four years for effective implementation of Agenda 2040.