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Children’s Parliament deliberates on issues affecting children

BY: Dickson Worlanyo Dotse
Hajia Lariba Zuweira Abudu (middle), Minister-designate, Gender, Child and Social Protection, with members of the Children's Parliament and other dignitaries. Picture: ERNEST KODZI
Hajia Lariba Zuweira Abudu (middle), Minister-designate, Gender, Child and Social Protection, with members of the Children's Parliament and other dignitaries. Picture: ERNEST KODZI

Sixty child parliamentarians drawn from schools across the country staged a mock model of the country's style of parliamentary proceedings in commemoration of World Children's Day.

Held in Accra, the sitting, which was the fourth session of the National Children's Parliament, was on the theme; "Creating a safe and protective environment for children: Inclusion for every child".

The main objective of the session was to use the country's method of parliamentary proceedings as a platform to air their concerns on matters affecting their development while giving them the opportunity to highlight solutions for consideration and action.

The House presided over by the ‘Speaker’, Eunice Issah Alfred , therefore, deliberated on issues including child abuse, child marriage, child labour, child trafficking, responsibilities of children and bullying among others.

The celebration was organised by the Department of Children under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP).

It coincided with the fifth anniversary of Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA) campaign; a national behaviour change campaign for the protection of children.

Message bearers

The Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Lariba Zuweira Abudu, referred to the child parliamentarians as message bearers and advised them to become voices in creating awareness of children's issues and promoters of children’s well-being.

She also urged them to use their knowledge about children’s parliament to educate and empower their friends to join in the effort to change social norms that were harmful to children.

“To add to this, stay away from internet fraud, sports betting and other vices; concentrate on your studies, for that is what will drive you into the future”, Ms Abudu added.

The UNICEF representative in Ghana, Fiachra McAsey, noted in his remarks that the level of violence against children remained high despite increased public awareness of child protection issues, GACA campaigns and other initiatives.

“There is less change in the use of corporal punishment and some social norms and attitudes which accept the use of violence against children remain entrenched”, he said.

In view of this, he said the UNICEF would continue to work with its partners to address structural gender norms and inequalities while encouraging personalities in the media to drive the campaign on their various platforms.