Tuesday, August 28, 2007
‘Abolish obsolete cultural practices’
THE Upper West Regional Minister, Mr. George Hikah Benson, has noted that female genital mutilation, early marriages, widowhood rites, defilement, child trafficking and child labour continue to impede the development of children in the region.
He called on traditional rulers in the region to abolish all obsolete customs and traditions that partly gave rise to these negative practices.
Mr. Benson was speaking at the inauguration of the Rights of Children’s clubs for the Wa municipality, as well as Wa East and Wa West districts at Wa on Saturday. It was on the theme; “The Role of Children’s Right in Development”.
The Miidan Educational Trust, a child rights non-governmental organization (NGO), organized the event, which was sponsored by Plan Ghana, a humanitarian child-centred community development NGO.
Mr. Benson appealed to the people to ensure that children had access to good health and better education for their development.
He urged individuals and organizations working for children to incorporate child rights principles into their programmes. Mr. Benson said the way society treated children reflected its sense of responsibility, justice and commitment to the future generation.
He appealed to child rights advocates to include in children a sense of self-esteem and patriotism and to sensitise them to the economic and social choices available to them.
The Country Director of Plan Ghana, Mr. Samuel Paulos, said the NGO had taken a bold step to integrate child rights into its programmes for the northern sector of the country.
He said some children in the country had been denied access to education, health, portable water and the opportunity to participate in decision-making.
Mr. Paulos announced that the NGO had sensitized about 70 per cent of families within the Sissala East and Sissala West districts to the rights and responsibilities of children He expressed regret that many children in those areas were only seen but not heard and said the NGO had worked hard to increase awareness among parents and community members about child rights.
Mr. Paulos added: “This remarkable achievement had made the NGO to extend its operations to the Wa municipality, Wa East and Wa West districts and the project would cost the NGO GH¢250,000 in about 18 months”.
He said further that the NGO would also award scholarships to brilliant, needy children, ensure good health, provision of water and sanitary practices, work towards poverty reduction, environmental management and build infrastructure for basic schools all of which were expected to cost GH¢530,000.
The Chief Executive of Miidan Education Trust, Madam Otiko Djaba, said poor children needed support to enable them to realize their dreams.
She announced that the NGO was working towards the elimination of obstacles and challenges that such children faced by giving them equal opportunities and training to enable them to bring out their talents. - GNA
Daily Graphic - Tuesday, August 28, 2007 Page: 31