In the face of this technological world where most old systems and ancient ways of living and handling issues are changing trend, one would also expect that people’s ways of reasoning and attitudes should also change for better. It is however sad to learn that in this era, some parents are still giving out their young girl children as collateral in early marriages, whiles some innocent girls are still also going through all forms of buses and violence defenselessly; bad practices we must all fight against.
It is in this quest that, Plan International Ghana, and the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) implementing partners, in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) have held a 5- day Girls Camp aimed at training and empowering over a hundred young girls between the ages of 13-17 years on Child Rights and how to protect themselves against violence and abuses for better future.
This training workshop which was held under the theme: “Empowering Girls To Thrive; The Roll Of All”, was hosted at the GNAT Hostel in Nungua Accra from Monday August 20th to Friday August 24th, 2018. It was fully and actively participanted by students hailing from schools in the Eastern, Ashanti, Northern, and the Upper West regions of Ghana.
Main objectives of the programme, including, exposing the girls to issues affecting their growth and development and teach them how to resists them.
To equip girls with skills to advocate for equal rights and opportunities for themselves and their peers.
To build girls self-confidence to believe in their abilities to succeed in their future endeavors.
To let girls share their experiences on Gender Based Violence (GBV) and learn how to prevent them.
In his address, the Holland’s Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Ron Strikker, established emphatically that, it is every nation’s responsibility to ensure that all laws are equally enforced without any discrimination.
He was quick to stress on that note that, the rights of our girl children must also be very paramount to us as we focus on the future of the nation. He observed that, early marriage, or child marriage is one of the very destructive tool that shatters the beautiful future of our girls and must seriously be avoided.
Mr. Ron, called for a collaborative effort of all stakeholders, the government, and all opinion leaders to join the campaign to help protect the rights of our future mothers.
Mr. Asum Kwarteng Ahensah– Acting Country Director of Plan International, in his interview also observed that, as far as Plan’s records are concerned, camps organized so far in such regards, have proven effective in empowering and building the capacities of young people.
He emphasized that, in general, bringing girls together helps to create safe spaces where they can interact freely, develop self-confidence, discover, learn and are encouraged to develop the ‘Can Do Spirit’.
He disclosed that this is in line with Plan International’s vision of reaching out to 100 million girls; and Girls’ Advocacy Alliance (GAA)’s contribution of reaching out to about 10,000 girls who are empowered to learn, lead, decide and thrive.
The Direction, however lamented how our religious and opinion leaders have sidelined all issues of abuses and violence against girls and our women, and have mainly focused on preaching of prosperity and miracles, whiles people and our young girls are suffering in their homes and villages.
He said, Plan believes that every child has right and those rights must be protected by all. He therefore charged the government and policy makers to enforce fully the laws that protects the girl child and seriously penalize anyone who would breach these laws accordingly.
Also on her part, the Dept. Director for Basic Education Division of the Ghana Education Service- Madam Benedicta Tenni Seidu, also sounded a note of caution and advice to parents who take delight in trading off their under aged girls in early marriage to strictly refrain from such illegal acts against the girls or face the full rigors of the law.
She lamented, “our girls are not for collateral, so when you make your debts, go pay for them yourselves as parents and don’t use your girls as collateral.” She called such act as a very shameful one that really destroys the future of our girls which must be avoided by all.
The Director, also urged the girls to focus and take their education very seriously for better future. She also urged them to totally say- NO to sex and be bold to report anyone who attempts to take undue advantage of them sexually to the nearest trusted person for the necessary and immediate action to be taken towards their protection.
Other organizations which also graced the occasion and also their speeches including; the World Vision, Oxfam, among others.
Some of the girls who shared their experiences with the media at the programme, expressed gratitude to Plan and its partners for such in depth knowledge offered them for free. The participants, assured that the enlightenment, would go a long way to help protect thems against all forms of violence which they have going through over the years ignorantly as girls, with no one to defend them.
Some of the girls who had survive painfully through such violence as domestic and sexual abuses, also made a passionate appeal to parents to help them in this journey and help protect their rights and open up to their wards to be able to confine in them when being threatened with such illegal ordeals, instead of running to their peers who may not have any better solutions for them.
source: Nana Effei