Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA) marks first anniversary, promoting alternatives to violence against children

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Millions of people have been reached with messages preventing abuse and promoting the well-being of children in the first year of the Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA) social drive which was launched by Her Excellency the Second Lady of Ghana, Mrs Samira Bawumia in November 2017.

More than five million people have been reached with the campaign messages: more than two million of the audience reached via the GACA digital platforms, and over three million people engaged through community mobile theatres and dialogues including offline visibility via messaging on billboards across Ghana.  In the last year, approximately 70 districts across all ten regions in Ghana carried activities and events related to the GACA campaign touching more than 1,000 communities were reached.

The GACA campaign is a joint Programme of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and NGO partners.  It is generously supported by Global Affairs Canada, KOICA Korea and USAID Ghana.

Reflecting on the achievements, Honourable Minister for Local Government, Hajia Alima Mahama said: “I’m optimistic of a leap in our country’s human development if the momentum generated is sustained and scaled up”.

With the ultimate goal to ‘promote the well-being of children, prevent abuse and protect children from harm’, the GACA campaign seeks to reduce the acceptance of social practices that have negative consequences on children. The campaign also mobilizes a critical mass of people to positively influence social norms and promote the adoption of behaviours favourable to the protection of children and adolescents. Ultimately, the social drive is expected to support the reduction of violence against children and adolescents, including harmful practices.

We are encouraged by the commitment and the wonderful stories and testimonials resulting from the campaign. With the communities and all partners, we look forward to further reducing the incidence of violence against children in the coming years,” says Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Representative in Ghana.

In Ghana, more than 90 per cent of children has reportedly experienced some form of violence, either in their residence or school environment (Source: 2011 Mapping and Analysis of Ghana’s Child Protection System report).

It is against this background that the Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA) social drive was launched. The 19th of November 2018 was chosen to celebrate the GACA first Anniversary, as this coincides with the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse.  One year after the GACA campaign was launched, it is a good opportunity to show what is already changing in Ghana for the improved protection of children and adolescents and to inspire more people to join the national campaign. It is also important to reflect on possible gaps and proposed strategies moving forward.

The GACA campaign currently has eleven thematic pillars addressing pressing child protection and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) issues in Ghana, with a focus on adolescent girls and boys. The pillars of the campaign include Child Sexual Abuse, Child Trafficking, Corporal Punishment, Child Labour, Verbal Abuse and Child Marriage.

Reflecting on the achievements, Honourable Minister for Local Government, Hajia Alima Mahama said: “I’m optimistic of a leap in our country’s human development if the momentum generated is sustained and scaled up.

With the ultimate goal to ‘promote the well-being of children, prevent abuse and protect children from harm’, the GACA campaign seeks to reduce the acceptance of social practices that have negative consequences on children, by creating a critical mass of people to promote the adoption of behaviours favourable to the protection of children and adolescents. Ultimately, the social drive is expected to support the reduction of violence against children and adolescents, including harmful practices.

We are encouraged by the commitment demonstrated and the emerging stories and testimonials resulting from the campaign so far. We look forward to hearing more positive results of GACA and to see a greater reduction of violence against children in the coming years,” says Anne- Claire Dufay, UNICEF Country Representative.

The GACA campaign currently has eleven thematic pillars addressing pressing child protection and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) issues in Ghana with a strong focus on adolescent girls and boys. The pillars of the campaign include Child Sexual Abuse, Child Trafficking, Corporal Punishment, Child Labour, Verbal Abuse and Child Marriage among others.

The Safe Schools Programme (SSP) seeks to address the root causes of violence at school, including corporal punishment, sexual harassment and bullying. It will be launched officially on the occasion of the GACA anniversary commemorative event. A Safe School Resource Pack (SSRP), developed by Ghana Education Service (GES), with support from UNICEF, has been designed to help prevent school-based violence, including Gender-Based Violence as well as equipping teachers, Guidance and Counselling Coordinators, children and adolescents with the needed skills to ensure that schools are free from all forms of violence.

Stories from our children tell us that this is critical. For example, in a school within the Ejisu -Juaben Municipal district, Kwamina got in trouble for not submitting his homework, he received the same punishment that many students have been getting for generations – caning. The twelve-year-old primary school pupil explained that he forgot his book in class hence couldn’t complete his assignment, but this explanation was not enough to save him from receiving the lashes.

According to Honorable Barbara Asher Ayisi, Deputy Minister of Education, the Safe Schools Program within the GACA campaign seeks to address key issues such as corporal punishment and offers alternatives in a positive outlook.

“I have children and I will never want to see them abused. Child abuse still happens in Ghana and it must end. Be a Ghanaian Against Child Abuse” says Her Excellency the Second Lady of Ghana, Mrs Samira Bawumia as she made a call for others to join the GACA campaign on social media.

“Creating a safe and non-abusive society is a collective responsibility and I will like to call on every Ghanaian to join the campaign and make Ghana a safe place for our children,” says the Honourable Cynthia Morrison, Minister for Gender Children and Social Protection.

We urge the public to join us in celebrating the success of the campaign and commit to taking the GACA pledge to be Ghanaian Against Child Abuse as we fight for a violence-free future for our children and adolescents in Ghana.

ABOUT: Ellsamwise King

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A Civil/Structural Engineer & Freelance Blogger, Journalist, Social Media Mogul, Digital Marketer, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist. CEO of Skyline Consortium & 9189 Media Consult and Co-Founder of Team Sarkodie. An alumnus of Prempeh College where he read General Science. He holds a first degree in Bachelor of Science from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. His mentors are Alvar Alto, Rupert Murdoch, Piers Mogan, Mensa Otabil, Bernard ElBernard Nelson-Eshun. Blogs for; http://www.233times.com | www.paemuka.com | http://www.playmusicgh.com | http://www.muzikiq.com | http://www.brandsaid.biz . Social Media Manager for Eon3 Group | BrandsAid | Kings Crown Media | Carabao Africa Ghana & Africa | Calvary Temple - ICGC | Team Sarkodie | Muzik IQ | Kwaw Kese Please inquire more via Email: [email protected] | [email protected] Instagram & Twitter: @wise_tskd Facebook: Ell Samwise LinkedIn: EllSamwise King Dogbe

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