The Child Research and Resource Center (CRRECENT) is waging a five-year campaign in some selected districts in the Eastern Region of Ghana to help fight the nagging issue of gender-based related issues. The project which is being rolled out in the Shai Osudoku, New Juaben and Akuapem North Districts is seeking to build alliances with girls, parents, community leadership, district and municipal leadership and faith based organizations to jointly respond to practices traditional norms and beliefs which influence the perpetuation of gender-based violence, child early/forced marriage, gender discrimination, sexual violence and teenage pregnancy in the communities that infringe on development and progress of the girl child and young women.
CRRECENT together with partners is implementing “Girls Advocacy Alliance Project” (GAAP) to achieve set objectives under the GAAP in collaboration with its change agents and Networks. The Change Agents, Networks groups and other stakeholders met on Friday, 24th March 2017 to monitor and review strategies to accomplish the advocacy task. Change Agents in the meeting include accomplished chiefs, queens, leaders of faith based organizations municipal and district level officers and others such as Pastors, Imams from the Christian and Moslem Councils, and Radio Operators from within the Districts. The meetings took place at the Akropong Presbyterian Hospitality Guest Conference Center and the Youth Center. The Workshop was organized by CRRECENT towards achieving its target.
Mrs. Susan Sabaa, the Executive Director of CRRECENT was engaged by Rite News who explained that though the workshop discussed sexual abuses, violence and teenage pregnancy among others, its immediate focus rested on child early/ forced marriages in the country because of its devastating effects on girls in the various communities.
“Though the programme looks at all the sexual abuses and violence as well as teenage pregnancy, the focus for now is on child early/forced marriages and sexual violence because of their devastating effects on girls and young women in the various societies and which go a long way to affect other generations. The development of girls and young women must be the concern of every society. As said by Dr. Aggrey ‘if you educate a woman, you educate the whole nation’ and this simply calls for the empowerment of young women and girls for national development,” madam Sabaa told Rite News.
According to her, the objective and rational behind the programme is to see the necessary legal framework, policies and laws that provide for the protection girls and young women against abuses and violence are enforced effectively and where there are gaps in the law and polices necessary actions are taken to correct. In her opinion most laws and policies meant for the protection of girls and young women are not being implemented, insisting that the push for the implementation of the laws at the community level can be achieved through advocacy and a consented effort of all stakeholders. ‘In view of this, CRRECENT has formed alliances with community groups, boys’ and girls’ groups, out of school girls and all who matter to speak out against sexual abuse, gender based violence and child early/forced marriage,’ she added.
She expressed her contentment at the strides being made by her outfit in the nine-month old project. Feedback from the various communities which she describes as ‘pleasing,’ a development, she noted was a clear indication that the advocacy was having an impact.
This advocacy project being implemented by CRRECENT, a Research and Evidence based Advocacy Organization, is funded by the Netherlands Government through Plan Ghana.
Nana Kwame Owusu Oppong III –Paramount Chief of Jumapo in the New Juaben Municipality of the Eastern region testified in an interview with Rite News that he has observed significant impacts of the programme on his communities since its introduction.
‘As an agent of change, since the programme was introduced in our communities, I can testify that there have been some positive impacts and as a traditional ruler, I mobilize my people to get more education on some of these abuses since ignorance is sometimes a factor in the widespread of these acts,’ Nana Kwame told Rite this reporter.
He based his conclusion on children in his communities who he said no longer frequent the games centers, night clubs and so on compared to what pertained in the past and therefore urged all concerned about the success of this initiative to serve as an agent of change in the various communities.