Ms Freda Prempeh, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSOP) says, the fight against gender-based violence in the era of COVID-19 requires a collective effort from parents and all stakeholders.
She said, 2020 has been an extremely challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She was speaking at the 2nd Summit 2020 organized by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection under the theme: "Promoting and Protecting The Welfare of The Vulnerable. Life in the era of COVID-19 and Zero Tolerance for Harmful Traditional and Cultural Practices in Ghana."
The summit is to assess the extent of implementation of the 2020 workplan and address key emerging issues identified during the implementation of the policy interventions.
Ms Freda said the ministry is still battling with gender-based violence including child abuse, rape, defilement, harmful practices, human trafficking among others.
The minister, however said, in spite the effect of COVID-19 impacted on the welfare of women, government has been consistent in the fight against gender-based violence and improving the welfare of women.
“The ministry worked 24hours during the lockdown to ensure the welfare of the vulnerable is provided for. People consider head potters(Kayayae) as the most vulnerable, but we had to work for the shoemakers, street children among others to ensure the welfare of all vulnerable persons have fared.”
She called for strengthened stakeholder collaboration to enable the Ministry to perform its mandate while encouraging their support to develop further strategies to ensure child safety.
Dr Agnes Ntibanyurwa, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative, said the resilience efforts towards improving the welfare of the vulnerable has this year been tested by the COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged the world at large and had exacerbated the socio-economic conditions of women and girls globally.
She said, the Summit provides a unique opportunity for attracting contributions from stakeholders working to influence policy and programming for the benefit of the most vulnerable in society, especially women and girls for the needed critical discourse.
She said these conversations and subsequent actions are critical as the world continued to mark the 25th Anniversary of the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action this year and would accelerate action to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to protect and promote the rights and choices of all, especially the vulnerable.
Mr Mawutor Ablo, Director for Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Department in his presentation said, in spite of the impact of COVID-19, the Ministry made some modest achievements.
He said, the ministry’s achievements included improvements in LEAP, School Feeding, capitation, Free SHS and Planting for Food and Jobs programmes, as well as youth empowerment with vocational skills for gainful employment, the implementation of the Early Childhood Development Policy while increasing public awareness of children’s issues due to the commemoration of the global days’ events to promote and protect child rights.
Again, several children had since been reunited with their families after being rescued from traffickers and the street, while the Ministry had developed a programme to support alleged witches, and was working to improve the management of the University of Ghana’s School of Social Work, to run diploma courses to address the human resource shortages of the Ministry.
The participants included Ministers of State, Parliamentarians, Development Partners, Civil Society Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations, Faith-Based Organisations, Media, Academia, Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Cooperate Bodies, Market Queens and Women, Research Institutions, Students, and Philanthropists.