Challenging Heights will like to congratulate the Honorable Lariba Zuweira Abudu , for her nomination as a substantive Minister for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. We also wish to congratulate the Honorable Francisca Oteng Mensah, for her nomination as the Deputy Minister for the same Ministry.
The Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry has been without a substantive Minister for almost a year. Nominating someone who has already served as a deputy minister, as she has been, as the substantive Minister, is certainly the right decision to make, to ensure that the new Minister settles in her role quickly.
The new Minister is being nominated at a time when research show that over 60% of all children living along Lake Volta are said to be in child labor (Challenging Heights, 2022). The Minister is coming into office at a time when there are estimated 133,000 in slavery in Ghana (Walk Free Foundation, 2018). We are in a time when the School Feeding Program is facing severe challenges, and there are several reports indicating worsening situations of teenage pregnancy, child marriage, and other children and social protection related issues.
It is refreshing to note that the Honorable Lariba Zuweira Abudu was already a part of the processes that led to the establishment of the just launched National Plan of Action to address Human Trafficking in Ghana. We hope that she will take the plan forward quickly and ensure full implementation.
We would also like to appeal to the new Minister to pay more attention to the Department of Social Welfare, as well as the Human Trafficking Secretariat, and to get the two institutions well resourced. Both institutions require more staff, more logistics, and improved working environment, in order to properly and effectively execute their mandate.
Challenging Heights would like to reiterate its call for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to make a bold institutional demand, and a major policy shift, for the Child Labor Unit of the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, to be brought under her Ministry (Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection), to ensure effective policy coordination and harmonization with all other children’s related issues. We believe that the Child Labor Unit is wrongly place, and that is why it is not functioning effectively.
Once again congratulations to the Honorable Lariba Zuweira Abudu, and the Honorable Francisca Oteng Mensah, for your nominations.
James Kofi Annan
(President, Challenging Heights)