Millions of people have been reached with messages preventing abuse and promoting the wellbeing of children in the first year of the Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA) social drive which was launched by Her Excellency the Second Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Samira Bawumia in November 2017.
More than five million people have been reached with the campaign messages: more than two million of the audience reached via the GACA digital platforms, and over three million people engaged through community mobile theatres and dialogues including offline visibility via messaging on bill boards across Ghana. In the last year, approximately 70 districts across all ten regions in Ghana carried activities and events related to the GACA campaign touching more than 1,000 communities were reached.
The GACA campaign is a joint Programme of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and NGO partners. It is generously supported by Global Affairs Canada, KOICA Korea and USAID Ghana.
“I’m optimistic of a leap in our country’s human development, if the momentum generated is sustained and scaled up." Honourable Minister for Local Government, said Mrs Mahama.
Reflecting on the achievements, Honourable Minister for Local Government, Hajia Alima Mahama said “I’m optimistic of a leap in our country’s human development, if the momentum generated is sustained and scaled up."
With the ultimate goal to ‘promote the well-being of children, prevent abuse and protect children from harm’, GACA seeks to reduce the acceptance of social practices that have negative consequences on children. The campaign also mobilizes a critical mass of people to positively influence social norms and promote the adoption of behaviours favourable to the protection of children and adolescents. Ultimately, the social drive is expected to support the reduction of violence against children and adolescents, including harmful practices.
“We are encouraged by the commitment and the wonderful stories and testimonials resulting from the campaign. With the communities and all partners, we look forward to further reducing the incidence of violence against children in the coming years,” says Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Representative in Ghana.
In Ghana, more than 90 per cent of children have reportedly experienced some form of violence, either in their residence or school environment (Source: 2011 Mapping and Analysis of Ghana’s Child Protection System report).
It is against this background that the GACA social drive was launched. The 19th of November 2018 was chosen to celebrate the GACA first Anniversary, as this coincides with the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse. One year after the launch of GACA provided a good opportunity to show what is already changing in Ghana for the improved protection of children and adolescents and to inspire more people to join the national campaign. It is also important to reflect on possible gaps and proposed strategies moving forward.
GACA has 11 thematic pillars addressing pressing child protection and sexual and gender based violence issues in Ghana, with a focus on adolescent girls and boys. The pillars include Child Sexual Abuse, Child Trafficking, Corporal Punishment, Child Labour, Verbal Abuse and Child Marriage.
The Safe Schools Programme seeks to address the root causes of violence at school, including corporal punishment, sexual harassment and bullying. It was launched officially at the GACA anniversary event which took place at Achimota High School. A Safe School Resource Pack, developed by Ghana Education Service with support from UNICEF, has been designed to help prevent school-based violence, including Gender-Based Violence as well as equipping teachers, Guidance and Counselling Coordinators, children and adolescents with the needed skills to ensure that schools are free from all forms of violence.
Stories from our children tell us that this is critical. For example, in a school within the Ejisu -Juaben Municipal district, Kwamina got in trouble for not submitting his homework, he received the same punishment that many students have been getting for generations - caning. The 12-year-old primary school pupil explained that he forgot his book in class hence couldn’t complete his assignment, but this explanation was not enough to save him from receiving the lashes.
According to Honorable Barbara Asher Ayisi, Deputy Minister of Education, the Safe Schools Program within the GACA campaign seeks to address key issues such as corporal punishment, and offers alternatives in a positive outlook.
“I have children and I will never want to see them abused. Child abuse still happens in Ghana and it must end. Be a Ghanaian Against Child Abuse” says Her Excellency the Second Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Samira Bawumia as she made a call for others to join the GACA campaign on social media.
“Creating a safe and non-abusive society is a collective responsibility and I will like to call on every Ghanaian to join the campaign and make Ghana a safe place for our children” says the Honourable Cynthia Morrison, Minister for Gender Children and Social Protection.
We urge the public to join us in celebrating the success of the campaign and commit to take the GACA pledge to be Ghanaian Against Child Abuse as we fight for a violence free future for our children and adolescents in Ghana.
Notes to Editors
This is a joint press release by the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development, Gender, Children and Social Protection, Education and also UNICEF.
About The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development exists to promote the establishment and development of a vibrant and well-resourced decentralized system of local government for the people of Ghana lo ensure good governance and balanced rural based development. For more information about MLGRD visit: http://www.mlgrdghanagov.com
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About The Ministry Of Gender, Children and Social Protection
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection exists to contribute to the development of the nation by achieving gender equality and equity, facilitate the enforcement of the rights of children, promote the integration and protection of the vulnerable, excluded and persons with disabilities in the development process through appropriate policies and strategies with adequate resources. We are made up of six directorates, three departments and six agencies. The departments include are the Department of Gender, Department of Social Developments and Department of Children. For more information about the Ministry and our work visit: www.mogcsp.gov.gh, Facebook: www.facebook.com/MoGCSPGhana
About The Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education was established under the Civil Service Law 327 and under the PNDC Law 1993 with the mandate to provide relevant education to all Ghanaians. The Ministry is committed to putting in place an education system focused on promoting creativity and problem-solving through the development of academic, technical and vocational programmes that will improve the acquisition of skills and assure job-market readiness. The Ministry works to provide education that ensure opportunity is equal for all, no matter what their background or family circumstances. For more information about the Ministry and our work, visit: http://www.moe.gov.gh
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For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/ghana