A belated President's Party for children in the Volta Region has been held for more than 100 pupils drawn from the Sokode education circuit in the Ho municipality.
In a message read on his behalf by the Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Dzamesi, the President, Mr John Agyekum Kufuor said the government had an unflinching commitment to the welfare of children and would ensure that they developed into mature and productive citizens.
He said that was the essence of multiple interventions on education, health and nutrition, among others, aimed at ensuring a holistic development of the head and hand.
The President said a stable political environment characterised by good governance, rule of law and media pluralism was essential in guaranteeing the protection of children and women, who suffered most in unstable political situations.
He said Ghana was the first to ratify the convention on children's rights and also a signatory to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention 182 against child labour.
He said the Children's Act, 2003 and Human Trafficking Act 694 were all manifestations of the unfettered interest of the state in the welfare of children.
President Kufuor said the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II contained adequate provisions for the welfare of children and called on non-governmental organisations to collaborate with the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs to advance the cause for the protection and development of children.
In an address, the Regional Director of Department of Children, Mr Edwin Gamadeku said the school feeding programme, fee free education and free metro bus ride for school pupils demonstrated govern¬ment's commitment to the welfare of children.
He, however, expressed regret that child neglect, child abandonment, parental irresponsibility, child labour in kente weaving, cattle rearing and stone quarrying negated efforts of government.
He called for the formation of children protection committees in communities to ensure that children were enrolled in school, child labour reduced and all other issues relating to children dealt with urgency.
Mr Gamadeku warned that chiefs and influential people should not be allowed to withdraw defilement cases from courts to be settled at homes.
He called on the Regional coordinating Councils to set up a fund to assist children who were victims of abuse as well as those who needed money to undergo serious surgical operations.
In a message to the President, the school pupils called for the extension of the school feeding programme to more schools.
They also called for the increment of the capitation grant per pupil and that a more critical look should be taken at the service conditions of teachers to reduce the high attraction rate of teachers into other fields.
Culled from The Mirror