The Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia, has underscored the need to make the national fight against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and harmful practices more proactive, pragmatic and well-coordinated.
She said although discussions around the disturbing phenomenon at various national levels were very key to the campaign to end SGBVs, talks without action would not produce the desired results.
Opening the first general meeting of the Coalition of People against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and Harmful Practices” (CoPASH) in Accra, Mrs Bawumia expressed gratitude to the members for their commitment towards the cause of CoPASH.
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Mrs Bawumia noted that SGBV and harmful practices, such as domestic violence, defilement, incest, rape, female genital mutilation, child marriage and child trafficking continued to happen in the country, therefore, all hands had to be on deck to support national efforts to end the menace.
The Coalition of People against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (CoPASH) is an advocacy based national campaign to help complement and accelerate national efforts to end Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and Harmful Practices.
It is an initiative of Mrs Bawumia and it is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ghana.
The mandate of CoPASH is to bring together agencies, organisations and individuals, who are passionate about SGBV, to advocate better resources for SGBV survivors throughout the nation, among other aims.
Mrs Bawumia said that sexual and gender based violence in Ghana required a more holistic and coordinated response and that was why the Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Projects (SEHP), with support from UNFPA, launched CoPASH in August of last year.
“Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Harmful Practices affect many people, but it is our women and adolescent girls who are most vulnerable. Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world,” she said.
Presenting some highlights on CoPASH’s activities, the Representative of the UNFPA in Ghana, Mr Niyi Ojoulape, said the coalition intended to support the completion of a DOVSSU one-stop shop response facility for SGBV cases.
“The facility is already under construction but require some support to finish it and equip it to be able to provide all the requisite support to victims under one roof.
This is the standard to getting adequate and consistent support for victims,” he said.
He said the coalition also intended to set up a virtual sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices platform to provide intermediate services to survivors of violence.
Other proposed activities included the expansion and strengthening of SGBV courts and data management systems at DOVVSU; commemoration of international advocacy moments and support emerging efforts and ad hoc campaigns on SGBV in Ghana.
Role of members
Mr Ojoulape said members were expected to serve as liaison between the community and the coalition; assist in the implementation of the coalition’s activities and serve as resource for the coalition to provide expert advice as needed.
“Members are also expected to serve as ambassadors for the work of the coalition and promote its mission as well as attend meetings regularly,” he said.
The members and other stakeholders at the meeting dialogued on how to enhance activities of the coalition as well as on how to effectively and gradually increase advocacy and other interventions to accelerate efforts to end SGBV.