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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Ghana Marks World Day Against Child Labour (Day 1&2)

Ghana couldn’t wait a second more; she had had enough, and had to join the globe mark World Day against Child Labour 2010 with the Theme: “GHANA, GO FOR THE GOAL: END CHILD LABOUR”. Last years’ was “Give girls a chance, end child labour”, which was vital for that year’s celebration. This year’s theme takes advantage of the World Cup SA 2010 to drum home how it affects children (victims), their families, the society, the Nation’s development and the need to halt the canker.

Children (drawn from around Ghana), on the 4th of June 2010 were in Accra to ‘Jaw-jaw’ on the issue and come up with a communiqué which they will present to Parliament and the nation, for it will take all hands on deck to make Ghana a Child Labour –Free Nation.

The Media Launch of the 2010 World Day against Child Labour and the Current ILO Child Labour Global Report was held on 5th June 2010, at the Ghana International Press Centre, Accra. In attendance were Representative of the President, Hon. Antwi Boasiako Sekyere (Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Welfare), Mr. Dave Agbenu (GJA National Organizer), Ms. Anna Bossman (Dep. Commissioner L&I, CHRAJ), Mr. Ransford Tetteh (GJA President), Madam Yasmin Ali Haque (UNICEF Country Rep.), Hon. Juliana Azumah Mensah (Minister, Women & Children’s Affairs), Miss Stella Ofori (Principal Labour Officer, Child Labour Unit of the Labour Department), Mr. Francesco d’Ovidio (Chief Technical Adviser, ILO/IPEC), Mr. Kabral Amihere (Chairman of the National Media Commission), The Media and the Children and Youth In Broadcasting-Curious Minds (CYIB-CM).

The Chairman of the National Media Commission, Mr. Kabral Amihere charged the Media to take up the issue and develop interest in such matters for it concerns them too. He said they should investigate, and expose by reporting folks who engage children in labour and Mobilize society with their ‘Media Power’ for attitudinal change for the elimination of Child Labour / Worst Forms of Child Labour! Gabriel Nii Obodai Ashong and I brought “Minus 10” an eight munite master-piece to life, Evelyn Fia-kwoffie took over to perform a poem “The Plight of the Street Child” – All written by Mr. Kingsley Obeng Kyere-K.O.K (Cordinator of CYIB-CM).

The Current ILO Child Labour Global Report was launched in Ghana by Hon. Antwi Boasiako-Sekyere, Dep. Minister for Employment and Social Welfare. All around the Globe, measures have been put in place to reduce Child Labour drastically, Sub-Saharan Africa’s situation has not experienced any significant drop. Ghana is demonstrating significant commitment in dealing with Child Labour, being the first country to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990. In 1992 the Republican Constitution that is very clear on Protecting Children from work that is detrimental to their development was promulgated, in that same year an ambitious programme dubbed “The Child Cannot Wait” was launched, demonstrating the urgency Ghana attaches to children’s welfare. In 1998 the most comprehensive legal framework on child development: the Children’s Act (Act 560), was passed with explicit provisions to deal with Child Labour. In aid to combat the canker effectively within the shortest possible time, Ghana joined the ILO’s International programme on the Elimination of Child Labour by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the ILO in the year 2000, this was promptly followed with the ratification of the ILO Convention No. 182 on the elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, thus commiting itself to put in place effective and time-bound measures to address the problem. Since then, Ghana has accelerated its efforts and the impact of interventions is improving. Several Gorvenment Institutions, Employers’ and Workers’ Organizations, local and international NGOs, the ILO and UNICEF as well as IOM have contributed significantly to efforts to address the problem.  Note: According to latest estimates, 215 million Children are engaged in Labour and 115 million of these children are into Hazardous Work (ILO)– One that exploits and endangers their health and proper development (mentally, physically, socially or morally and that which deprives Children of the Opportunity to attend School, make children leave School Prematurely, or Requiring children to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work). The Worst Forms of Child Labour targeted under the National Plan of Action (NPA)- (An Action Plan Document developed by the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare (MSEW) in collaboration with the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA), the Ghana Trade Union Congress (GTUC), ILO/IPEC , UNICEF and other Key partners) are Children in; Child Trafficking, Mining and Quarrying, Fisheries, Ritual Servitude, Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Porterage of Heavy Loads, Domestic Servitude, Agriculture, Street Hawking and Begging.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2010 in Issues!

 

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World Cup SA-2010 June 13th, Ghana vs. Serbia

Hopes were up and high all around Ghana, Not certain of the number of goals the BlackStars of Ghana would produce but sure of a win against the Serbians. Germany, Australia, Serbia and Ghana are in group D. Sunday morning? Very joyful, not forgetting –so colorful, my eyes beheld a lot; Branded cars, Ghanaian flags, scarves, handkerchiefs, Vuvuzela’s, etc. Others who couldn’t fight the fever wore the BlackStar jersey to church. The truth is, I had none of these with me but my heart was Red, Gold, Black, and Green and had a Black star in the middle!

My Church, Christ Apostolic Church Int. – La Assembly said a prayer for the BlackStars after service; it was same in many other churches in Ghana and around the Globe. Members of my church (part of Ghana’s over 23 million coaches) had lots to say, others predicted the scores and in all Ghana’s BlackStars was the winning team. I wanted just 2 goals for the stars and of course a win! Others wanted 3 goals; my Mum settled for 5 goals and had in mind players to score those goals for her…LoLz! The Stars had to do their best; the rest was done by prayer to God for His Divine support. Some minutes to the game, “the streets went dead”, not even a car was seen on the busiest roads, it meant well- Ghana was behind the screens!

I sat on tenterhooks through the first half, am sure you felt same. It took time to gather some “Vim” for the second half, hoping to see the balls in the net of the Serbian team. Asamoah Gyan, Dede Ayew, Kevin Prince Boateng and “Olele”- Keeper Richard Kingson made my day, they played so well. Many Ghanaians nearly lost hope by the 70th minute of the game, but managed to strengthen the little left within to see at least a goal from our boys (BlackStars) that will assure us of our three points. Ghana kept watch as chances for goals were spoilt and shots away from target, again Serbia’s keeper managed to keep few from entering the goalpost. A smile lit across my face as Serbia’s man fouled for a handball in their yard- it called for a penalty kick, Asamoah was the selected kicker, he had to put smiles on Ghana and Africa’s face, the referee’s whistle blew and GOOOOOOOOOAAAALLLLL!!! I just couldn’t hold back the shout or stay mute. Indeed JABULANI-Celebration and jubilation was all over the Continent of Africa esp. in Ghana, Vuvuzela’s went wild, and cars did their honking others without these had to shout. Amazing huh? Africa was behind Ghana and so did some parts of the globe. I thank God, am proudly African!

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2010 in Ghanabakwamena Zone!

 

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AU Day of the African child 16th June 2010, in Ghana

Two days before the Day of the African Child, a team of children age 12-16 work on a communiqué around the theme: “PLANNING AND BUDGETING FOR CHILDREN, OUR COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY”. The Government of Ghana, Ministry for Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC) and UNICEF were those responsible for making it happen; A CHILDREN’S PRESS CONFERENCE in commemoration of the African Union Day of the Child, held at the conference hall of the Ministry of Information.

Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwah (Minister for Information) chaired the function; the Deputy Minister for Women and Children was there to see ‘her Children’ in action. Frank, a member of the team that worked on the communiqué read it, impressive! They (Children in Ghana), felt it was vital for children to be part of Planning and Budgeting for the Nation. Attention of Government was drawn to Gender budgeting, budgeting for street children, budgeting for children with disability, public schools and those in remand homes, again, they pleaded that the Media put little time for politics and highlight issues of children more, not the other way round. They commended Government for their effort so far to make Ghana a better place for children and asked for more, “Not because we are selfish or ungrateful, much needs to be done”. They insisted children are put first when parents or guardians budget for the home, communities could do same by making sure children have schools with proper sanitary facilities for both sexes esp. for girls, libraries, playgrounds etc. that will aid their proper development. Other children at the forum insisted that the School Feeding Programme (SFP) be extended to all public schools; children be consulted when budgets are being planned or formulated. Hon. Ablakwah responded by affirming their commitment to Ghana’s children and said that Children were consulted but not directly when planning is being made. He agreed to the fact that Politics had taken over the airwaves and said little could be done about that, however, the media must, in the midst of politics and other matters attend to the needs of tomorrow’s leaders, Children. Members of the Kids ‘R’ Us told Government to take the communiqué serious, for it is vital.

The Deputy Country Rep. of UNICEF, Mr. Rene Degon expressed a good job done to the team and said “Investing in Children is the best investment we can all make, esp. a nation, for it yields higher interests”. He said Ghana invests in Agriculture, Health and Education amongst other things, yet more can be done e.g. Ghana invests Thirty Percent (30%) of its budget into Education and less than that to Health, more could be done. Again, Ghana will be the beneficiary if Children are invested in since it benefits future generations too. He congratulated Ghana for its commitment to its Children and its readiness to developing the country by investing more into children. UNICEF pledged their support to children’s issues in Ghana and Africa.

Hajia Boya Gariba, Hon. Deputy for Women and Children, said the theme for the year’s celebration is challenging and urged all to look at how they budget for children. She shared an experience with the media, one she will ever cherish; some time ago, students once visited the Parliament House to observe sittings and present a communiqué- She realized on interacting with them that, they were resourceful. She stated that all 4 Pillars of child rights (Survival, Protection, Participation and Development) entailed cost, and there is a need for a Children’s Budget (part of the National Budget, Not a separate budget) that satisfies the needs of Ghanaian Children-the Best Interest Principle. She thanked partners for their support, and said that MOWAC is responsible for formulating policies for Women and Children and allocates resources to address issues of Women and Children in the budget. She said it’s better to invest in Children at a tender age through Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD). Hajia Boya Gariba, Hon. Deputy for Women and Children’s affairs, said the MPs common fund must have much of its funds allocated to children, again, MOWAC will adopt the theme: “PLANNING AND BUDGETING FOR CHILDREN, OUR COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY” as theirs (MOWAC) for the Year.  She said community durbars, amongst other events lined up will make the celebration complete, wished all Happy AU day of the Child esp. Children in Ghana.

Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwah, the chair for the function, thanked all present for coming and advised much attention is giving to our future, Ghanaian Children.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2010 in Issues!

 

Child Health Promotion Week (CHPW) Part 1

It all began with a Press briefing on the 29th April 2010, the theme? ‘Men on Board for Healthier Children’ very interesting, Why? Men are hardly seen performing ‘Motherly roles’ esp. In Africa. Partnering to drive the week to a successful end were the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, USAID, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO). The CHPW was first launched and started in 2004, Aimed at helping achieve MDG 4 by Vaccinating all under age 5, combating malaria and other childhood-killer diseases, tackling Improper sanitation, not forgetting registering all unregistered children, ALL FOR FREE! Recorders picked sound bits, Inks and Pens just couldn’t wait to write, Cameras? Not left out, ready to take shots of every move. We were set to go.

Dr. Isabella Sagoe-Moses, the National Child Health Cordinator raised salient issues, Children Under 5 years are vulnerable to illness and death. Ghana indeed is making headway in goal 4 of the MDG’s. Under 5 mortality has decreased over the years: recording 155 deaths in 1985, 119 deaths in 1990, 108 deaths in 1995, 111 deaths in 2000, and currently stands at 80 deaths per 1000 live births, much still needs to be done. Some cultural beliefs and harmful practices still stand in MDG 4’s way e.g. many children and expectant mothers in some parts of Ghana don’t eat certain foods containing vital nutrients for growth and development of babies and children, the egg and many more, (we shall explore this matter in another interesting blog!). Key Interventions: Improving health service delivery, malaria control through distribution of  Insecticide Treated Mosquito Nets (ITN), Creating awareness on the CHPW and Integrating Maternal & Child health Programmes and projects, Birth registration. Thanks to such inputs, Ghana has not recorded deaths for Measles since 2002, No wild cases for Polio between 2003 and 2008, Malaria will soon be history if Proper sanitation is maintained and early treatment sought. It was sad to hear that most of these Interventions hardly reach all targeted population, esp. folks in the rural setting. I believe it must reach everyone everywhere, when it’s done we are assured of healthier kids and Mums in every part of Ghana!

Mr. Kweku Amoah, Registrar-Births and Deaths Registry made it known to all and sundry that registration at birth is a fundamental right. Surprisingly half of Ghana’s children are not registered at birth, retarding the Nations development, how? being Unregistered means one has no Nationality, secondly, Ghana can’t plan for that individual since he/she isn’t recognized e.g. if out of 500 births only 250 are registered, the unregistered will over pressurized amenities since 4 hospitals have been built to serve 250 people only.

Psalm Adjetey-Fio (Renowned Ghanaian Actor of Taxi Driver fame as TT), was present and said “Yes” for Ghanaian fathers, and promised to assist make the week a splendid one. He shared a Personal experience, how he responded to the ‘Fatherly Call’ at an early stage in his life whiles in college, he had to see to it that his ‘wife’ and child were safe. TT certainly deserves a thumb up for a good job done! He advised Nurses to put in their best, for they play an important role in making the Mother and baby happy during their stay at the Hospital.

Now, on the theme, so ideal! Men are wanted aboard because: they are Key decision makers of the home, for the Nation, households and communities, Men can save money when their children are healthy since many homes are financed by men, and an unhealthy family is a slur to the father-head of the home. You know men love Soccer so much, it’s one of the things incorporated into the week to attract men, the rest are Quizzes and other fun games… Women who get to Health Centre’s without their Husbands will have a lot to answer to Nurses at Service delivery points.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

 
 
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