Stakeholders including the “Champions of Change” in the Wa Municipality have deliberated on the need to harmonize and gazette community child protection by-laws to ensure girls are well protected against any form of abuse.
The move is part of the implementation of the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) project by the Centre for the Promotion of Democratic Governance (CENPRODEG) and the Defense for Children International Ghana with sponsorship from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The project is focused on four thematic areas namely, child marriage; child abuse and gender-based violence; commercial sexual exploitation; and Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and employment.
Speaking during the stakeholder deliberation forum dubbed: “Regional Advocacy on Promoting Equal Rights and Opportunities for Girls and Young Women”, Madam Edith Naaza, Project Coordinator of CENPRODEG, an NGO, said the absence of a well-recognized community child protection by-laws was affecting the fight to protect the girl-child.
She said the harmonization and gazetting of the by-laws would give power and authority to community leaders to be able to sanction perpetrators of child abuse as prescribed by the by-laws.
“When community members become aware that in their own community they have by-laws prohibiting them from engaging in child marriage, impregnating teenagers, or commercially exploiting young girls, they will restrain themselves from those abusive acts”, Madam Naaza said.
Madam Matilda Doopireh Chireh, the Acting Upper West Regional Director of the Department of Children, said both boys and girls at their adolescent age have high sexual desires that often pushed them into taken wrong decisions, hence the need for parents to understand and give them adequate protection.
She urged parents to also endeavour to provide the basic needs of the girl-child to ensure that men do not take advantage of that to abuse them.
Madam Chireh called on communities to come up with their by-laws and own them so that they could use them to protect their children.
Mr Umar Musah, Wa Municipal Director of Social Welfare and Community Development, urged parents to take very good care of their children by ensuring that before they themselves go to bed their children especially the girl-child was already on bed.