Government has been challenged to resource gender desk officers to enable them deliver the intended benefits in girl-child grooming and education as part of the total development efforts of the nation.
Executive director of the Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP), Mr Moses Dramani Luri, said government must show commitment beyond the creation of offices and desks, and the enactment of laws to ensure the intended purposes of those efforts were achieved.
Addressing volunteer participants at a training-of-trainers workshop for the Girls Advocacy Alliance in Wa, Mr Luri said “a paradigm shift is needed to achieve new results” in the area of girl education and empowerment.
The Girls Advocacy Alliance is a platform for the grooming of young girls to empower them by building their confidence levels to make them assertive and prepared for leadership roles in their various societies, including communities and schools.
It is an initiative of Plan Ghana, with sponsorship from the Dutch Foreign Ministry through the local embassy, with SILDEP as the implementing partner at the local level.
The workshop was attended by 35 teachers working at different levels of the basic education structure from Sissala East, Sissala West and Wa West districts – where the civil society organisation operates mainly – and gender desk officers at the regional office of the Ghana Education Service.
Cycle of poverty
Mr Luri said poverty remained widespread in Upper West Region and neighbouring areas despite the major interventions by Plan Ghana and other civil society organisations to promote economic empowerment of the peoples.
He said the girl child has become the focus of efforts to reverse the cycle of poverty by empowering her with education, employable skills and the appropriate grooming to counter the possibility of teenage pregnancies, early and child marriages, school dropouts, and other vices that eventually and ultimately afflict the entire society.
He praised government for the appointment of a deputy minister in charge of technical and vocational education and the appointment of officers in charge of technical and vocational education at the regional level, describing the moves as important steps in te right direction.
Lack of resources
He, however, lamented the lack of resources for many of these persons manning important positions, suggesting that it was even difficult for some of them to effectively monitor their jurisdiction properly across a full term since they did not have the basic resources for work.
“What is of some challenge to these offices are that some have just a desk, and that is all. They don't have vehicles or the means to enable them move around their areas to carry out their duties effectively. This is what we want government and other relevant bodies to support us achieve,” he said.
Madam Anna N. Nabere, project officer of the Girls Advocacy Alliance at Plan Ghana, who was the key facilitator at the workshop, praised the participants for volunteering to help in grooming young girls.
She asked them to champion girls advocacy in the manner of role models for the younger generation.