We'll value children's rights - Gender Minister
The new Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Lariba Zuweira Abudu, has said she will drive a cultural and behavioural change for society to value the rights of children to enable them to thrive and attain their highest potential.
She said some people did not value the power of children’s rights, and Ghana being a state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child must take appropriate measures to protect children from, exploitation, abuse, poverty, education gaps, among others.
Speaking to the Junior Graphic, Mrs Abudu said in spite of the gains made in child protection and services, children still faced challenges which affected their basic rights and development.
Therefore, she said, the ministry would embark on activities that would put the well-being of children at the centre of its activities.
For instance, Mrs Abudu said education, greater awareness and understanding of the rights of the child, and where to seek help would be given a lot of attention.
To this end, she said the ministry’s helplines — 080800800 and 0800900900 — would be improved and sustained to enable children to report any challenges they faced.
She said helplines were a safe place for children to seek help and encouraged them to take advantage of them.
Mrs Abudu gave the assurance that “the ministry is for children and our doors are always open and they can count on us for any support.”
Another project, Mrs Abudu mentioned, was the development of the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park which she said would be modelled to include a lot of educational activities.
“We want to put the park in good shape such that it is conducive for learning and relaxation. Additionally, it could be a place where parents could drop off their children to have fun and pick them up later,” she added.
Furthermore, the children’s minister said she was hoping to revitalise the Children’s Parliament which was organised annually for children to express their views on governance.
She explained that she would hold discussions with all stakeholders so that the Children’s Parliament would be organised in all the regions so that children from diverse backgrounds would also benefit by sharing ideas and thoughts to influence positive change.
“The children’s parliament creates the platform for inclusion, teach them about the concept of democracy and for their voices to be heard to influence policies,” she added.
Mrs Abudu said high quality early education and care was essential for children, families and society and, therefore, the ministry would continue to train early childhood development teachers to give a solid start to all children.
With rights come responsibilities and the minister called on parents to also live up to their responsibilities by taking good care of their children.
She also encouraged children to stay in school, take their lessons seriously and obey instructions from their teachers.
One challenge she noted children faced was negative peer influence and said it was important for families and schools to put in measures to prevent children from being led astray.