Ghana NGO Forum holds a conference on “Preventing Child Neglect”


OAfrica in collaboration with the Department of Children and with funding from the European Union, has implemented a two-year project entitled “Promoting and Protecting Child Rights in Ghana”.

As part of project activities, a one-day nationwide stakeholder NGO Forum and NGO Fair on Child Rights was held under the theme: “Preventing Child Neglect: Whose Responsibility? ”.

Background

Ghana was the first country to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990.

Nearly 30 years later, the Government of Ghana (GoG) still does not fully comply with what the Committee of the CRC has observed Ghana needs to do for vulnerable children, namely:

Prioritize and substantially increase the budgetary allocations in the social sectors, ensuring implementation of the economic, social and cultural rights of children, particularly for the improvement of health-care services, education and protection of vulnerable groups of children

On the domestic front the 2016 NPP Manifesto stated that as a party it “remains committed to gender equality and children’s rights” and will pursue full implementation of relevant Acts including the Human Trafficking Acts.

Furthermore, in his submission to the Ghanaian Parliament, on his government’s Coordinated Programme for Economic and Social Development Policies (2017-2024), President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated that, “technical and financial resources will be prioritized at all levels, to ensure effective implementation of child protection and family welfare programmes.”

Budgetary Allocation

In 2017, 72.6 million Ghana cedis was allocated for child protection of which, shockingly, only 33.1% was disbursed, as can be seen in the table below.

Although a lot of work by the NGO sector and UNICEF as well as GoG has gone into various well-crafted and fully costed policies and plans for the protection of Ghana’s children they have lacked full and effective implementation.

The government has adopted, but not fully implemented, the Child and Family Welfare Policy (2014), the Justice for Children Policy (2015), the National Gender Policy (2015), the Five Year (2018-2022) Strategic Plan to prevent Adolescent Pregnancies, Ghana Family Planning Costing Implementation Plan (2016 – 2020) and the National Strategic Framework on Ending Child Marriage for (2017-2018) along with their costed operational plans. Equally, the “Automated System for the Registration of Births and Deaths” (SRBD) and the Care Reform Initiative need to be fully funded so that rollout can be completed.

Conclusion

The budget required to bring child protection services in Ghana up to the minimum level demanded by the CRC is small compared to the budget required for children’s education, health and sanitation.

However, these child protection allocations are critically important as they address the needs of the most vulnerable children, and the economic benefits of preventing abuse or addressing existing abuse are substantial.

Based on the above mentioned issues, we demand that Government increase the amount destined to child protection in the 2020 and subsequent budgets and that the budget should subsequently be entirely disbursed to adequately fund and implement the existing plans and policies particularly in the key areas of Birth Registration, Alternative Care, Justice for Children, Child Marriage and Child Sexual and Reproductive Health.

We, as the Organizing Committee of the NGO Forum, therefore require that the Government live up to its responsibilities by:

  • Increasing the budget allocations for child protection in Ghana
  • Fully disbursing the entire child protection budget.

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