Review of Gender sector activities in 2020

BY: Doreen Andoh
Wife of the Vice-President, Mrs Samira Bawumia, and the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Cynthia Morrison, promoting the Ghanaian Against Child Abuse (GACA) Campiagn
Wife of the Vice-President, Mrs Samira Bawumia, and the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Cynthia Morrison, promoting the Ghanaian Against Child Abuse (GACA) Campiagn

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is mandated to coordinate and ensure gender equality and equity, promote the survival, social protection and development of children, the vulnerable and excluded and persons with disability, and integrate fulfilment of their rights, empowerment and full participation into national development.

During the year under review, many eventful activities happened to highlight and address crucial gender issues. The Daily Graphic brings to readers some of those major activities.

Gender Minister, Parliamentary Select Committee visit witch camps

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Gender, Children and Social Protection have initiated steps to help address the issue of witchcraft accusation that has led to the establishment of witch camps in the northern part of the country.

Consequently, the Gender Minister, Mrs. Cynthia Morrison, in conjunction with members of the Parliamentary Committee has undertaken a working visit to some of the witch camps in the Northern Region to collate data to prepare a report that would be presented to Parliament for debate to help fashion out a policy to permanently address the issue of witchcraft accusation in the country.

Gender Ministry formulates policy to protect alleged ‘witches’

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) is to draft a policy to safeguard the rights of women branded as witches in their communities.

She said a bill would later be put together for the consideration of the Cabinet and subsequent approval by Parliament.

Gender Ministry develops child marriage information portal

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is developing a national digital portal that will facilitate the effective management and sharing of information on child marriage and sexual and gender-based violence.

The portal, to be named the Domestic Violence Information Portal and Database (DVIP), is being developed with sponsorship from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Govt to enact Affirmative Action Law – Deputy Minister for Gender

The Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Projection, Ms Freda Prempeh, says the government is on the verge of enacting an Affirmative Action Law to reduce gender gaps in all sectors of the economy.

She explained that the government was also considering the enactment of an Intestate Succession Law and the Domestic Workers regulation to strengthen the legal framework and aid in the reduction of gender gaps.

LEAP beneficiaries to migrate onto mobile money system

The government is considering migrating beneficiaries under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme onto the mobile money payment system, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, has disclosed.

The move, she said, was to fast-track the bi-monthly stipend paid to beneficiaries who currently received their stipend through the Ezwich payment system through some selected banks.

Mrs Morrison said this to the media at Agona Nyakrom in the Agona West Municipality in the Central Region while monitoring the payment of funds to LEAP beneficiaries in the area last Monday.

Medical fees deny sexual violence victims justice — Coalition

Rape, sexual assault and domestic violence are significantly underreported due to the trauma and stigma associated with it.

But stakeholders say what is even more troubling is the many survivors being denied justice after bracing the odds to report, and that, they explained, was due to their inability to afford the cost of medical forms, a key evidential document to initiate criminal investigation and legal action.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Coordinator for the Coalition for Survivors of Domestic Violence (CSDV), Mrs Irene Aborchie-Nyahe, said doctors charged between GH¢300 and GH¢800 to fill out police medical forms and between GH¢1,000 and GH¢2,000 for providing a medical opinion for legal purposes.

Intensify efforts to address teenage pregnancy in Ghana- UNFPA

 A reproductive health specialist with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Robert K. Mensah, has called for increased efforts to address the alarming rise in teenage pregnancies in the country.

According to him, 14.4 per cent out of Ghana's total adolescent population of 31 per cent were either pregnant or already had children.

In a presentation during a stakeholders’ end of year review meeting in Ho, in the Volta Region, Mr Mensah said the statistics showed that the Western Region had the highest number of teenage pregnancies.

Govt to inject GH¢700 million into School Feeding, LEAP this year

The government will this year inject GH¢200 million into the implementation of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) and GH¢500 million in the School Feeding Programme (SFP) to increase the number of beneficiaries and reduce poverty in Ghana.

 It will also provide US$200 for each LEAP beneficiary and equip them with entrepreneurial skills after exiting the programme in order for them to be financially independent.

It is expected that 1. 6 million Ghanaians made up of 350,000 extremely poor households will benefit from LEAP this year, while 2.6 million children are expected to benefit from the school feeding programme.

Stakeholders review operations manual of LEAP programme

The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Management Secretariat, under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has organised a three-day workshop to finalise the review of the programme's Operations Manual.

LEAP is a Government of Ghana Social Protection intervention to empower the extremely poor population to "leap" out of extreme poverty.

The operations manual describes the operations of the LEAP programme and provides a set of procedures and guidelines needed to implement an efficient and effective programme.

Gender Ministry presents items to children’s shelter

The Human Trafficking Secretariat of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has handed over equipment and food items to the management of a designated shelter for rescued victims of child trafficking to begin its effective operationalisation.

The shelter was designated by the ministry to care for child trafficking victims and street children.

The items included laptops, safes, cabinets, a computer and its accessories; a three-in-one colour printer, Giant photocopier, stationery, fumigation materials and two gas cylinders.

Others were stoves, tools and gardening items; raincoats, wellington boots, sanitary towels and food items.

Eliminating FGM: Ghana reviews progress, charts way forward

Today, Ghana is joining the international community to commemorate International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to create awareness of the inhumane act.

Aside from being a human rights violation, FGM is also a form of sexual and gender-based violence as the practice involves altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons, and it is internationally recognised as a human rights violation.

Globally, it is estimated that some 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM, with more than 125 million girls and women having been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where FGM is concentrated.
‘Do not send children hawking, keep them indoors’ -Gender Minister

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP), Mrs Cynthia Morrison, has advised parents and guardians to desist from engaging their children and wards in commercial activities such as hawking during their stay at home to help reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19.

According to her, it was important for parents to keep their children indoors and refrain from sending them out to hawk to support incomes of their families.

Mrs. Morrison, who was speaking at the training of trainers’ workshop for market queens and some traders on enhanced hygiene procedures at markets in Techiman in the Bono East Region, appealed to the market women to follow the preventive measures put in place by the government.

COVID-19: Ministry builds capacity of traditional leaders
Traditional and religious leaders have been urged to create awareness of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in their communities to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The Chief Director for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Dr Afisah Zakariah, who said this at a two-day training workshop on COVID-19 and child protection, noted that traditional and religious leaders played a vital role in the development of the society.

Inter-generational sex causing rise in HIV among adolescents
- GAC, partners intensify interventions

The Ghana AIDS Commission has expressed worry over the increasing prevalence of HIV among adolescents.

It said out of the 20,068 new infections recorded in 2019, 5,613 representing 28 per cent were between the ages of 15 and 24.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Director-General of the commission, Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene, said the indication was that those young persons were being infected by older persons.

Central Region MMDAs discuss implementation of National Gender Policy

Staff of metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies and the Regional Coordinating Council in the Central Region have called for a revision of the educational curricula to include more gender-related issues.

The staff, who said this after a one-day workshop to discuss the National Gender Policy, said including gender issues in the educational curricula would help correct long-held beliefs and perceptions that restrained, especially females, from exploring and harnessing their optimal potential.

They noted that while some efforts had been put into reviewing some of the curricula to reduce gender biases, there were still some subject areas which perpetuated gender disparities.

Give visually impaired equal educational opportunities

Parents have been advised to give equal opportunities to their children, including persons with disability (PWDs), especially the visually challenged, to be educated.

They were advised not to hide their visually challenged children from the public because of fear of being stigmatised, but rather give them the opportunity to go to school to follow their dreams.

National plan to increase women’s participation in peace launched

The second Ghana National Plan (GHANAP2) aimed at critically addressing the rights of women and children to increase their participation in the promotion of peace and the resolution of conflicts in particular has been launched in Accra.

The plan, under the aegis of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), also seeks to prevent gender-based violence and protect the needs and rights of women and girls within the scope of peace missions, humanitarian operations, among others.

Ministry, partners review Domestic Violence Law  

Following the expiry of its implementation period, the National Domestic Violence (DV) Policy (2009 - 2019) and its Plan of Action for Implementation, Act (732) of 2007 is set to undergo a review.

The review, being spearheaded by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, is expected to fine-tune the existing law to reflect and respond better to modern challenges related to domestic violence prevention and management, and also track implementation successes and challenges to inform the development of a robust new policy.

Handing over of refurbished DV shelter and equipment

As part of activities marking the 16 Days of Activism against Sexual and Gender Based Violence, the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) have handed over a Refurbished Domestic Violence Shelter and Equipment to the Domestic Violence Secretariat through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.