The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has marked this year's International Day of the Child towards the achievement of better development of the girl child.
This year's celebration themed: "My Voice, Our Equal Future" focused on curbing teenage pregnancy, STI and HIV and child abuse through public sensitization in creating awareness on the need to promote and protect the rights of girls.
Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Cynthia Mamley Morrison said, interactions with children revealed, that social media is increasingly promoting sexual abuse and that parents must muster courage to educate their wards on sexual activities.
She stated, that it is imperative to engage children in sex education to broaden their knowledge on the dangers associated with it.
According to her, sex education empowers girls on their rights against sexual harassment and early marriage.
She said, online abuse comes at the advancement of technology through the use of smart phones, and that prioritizing sex education at homes would largely contribute to the campaign against child abuse.
"Mobile phones used to be luxury but today is a necessity, and today COVID has rendered it a tool for learning, but if you acquire a phone for your child, you must pay keen attention to its usage, todays kids are enlightened on its usage and some sites promote highly sexual contents so parents lets be cautious and monitor their activities.
The smartphones are good but have their advantage and disadvantages, and its usage without education could be detrimental to the growth and development of the girl child," the Hon. Minister stressed.
The Ministry, together with its partners organized the day to educate them on sexual abuse and early marriage across the country.
According to United Nations Resident Coordinator, Charles Abani, a joint report by UNICEF and Plan International and UN Women, taking in stock 25years of progress of girls revealed that progress for girls specifically has not kept pace with the realities they face today.
He said, barriers affecting the progress of girls continue to be inequities, discriminatory practices and disadvantages.
He stated, that "the needs of marginalized adolescent girls deserve special mention if indeed we are to ensure inclusion and leave no girl behind."
Country Director of Plan Ghana International Mr. Solomon Tesfamariam, in his address said, the world is faced with a growing menace, which has emanated from the advent technology towards the campaign for right to a safe, educated, and healthy life.
“....And as we all work towards the resolution of this age long issues of abuse, we are further faced with a growing menace, which has emanated from the advent of the technological world, which we are gradually transitioning into,” he said.
He said, recent research conducted among 14,000 girls, including Ghanaians revealed that online violence silenced girls and created barriers to their leadership.
The development therefore, makes it important that girls understood the concept of online safety and harassment from different perspectives and its devastating effects on their development.
He further calls on Government of Ghana and all stakeholders to monitor the abuse and rigorously and for social media companies to use their technological skills and financial resources to put freedom online for girls and going women at the heart of their agenda.
The programme also educated girls on topics such as adolescent reproductive health amid Covid-19 and teenage pregnancy.
They had a debate on “Empowerment of Girls, a Catalyst to Ghana’s Underdevelopment” with awards presented to the winners.