The Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS) Tamale development oriented NGO has initiated a programme aimed at enrolling 1,600 girls into formal schools as means of addressing child labour and trafficking in Savelugu/Nanton and West Mamprusi Districts.
As part of the package, RAINS would pay full National Health Insurance premiums for mothers of the beneficiary girls who are under 18 years for three years for them to attend free healthcare.
The Hope for Children, UK based NGO with funding from Comic Relief, another UK NGO. All the beneficiary girls would receive free school uniforms, sandals, exercise books, and other teaching and learning aids to enable them complete their education.
Mr. Nyadia Sulemana, Project Officer of RAINS announced this in Savelugu in the Savelugu/Nanton District on Thursday at the launch of "Next Generation Project" aimed at helping to address child trafficking and structural causes of poverty in the Northern Region.
He said RAINS in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare would also train 1,200 women who were in their advanced ages and girls withdrawn from "Kayayee" and equip them with working tools to ensure that they did not go back to the cities for non-existent jobs.
The aim of the project is to withdraw a total of 2,800 fostered girls and those from poor families and to prevent them from going to the streets to indulge in acts that would jeopardise their lives.
The project would be operating in 20 communities in the Savelugu/Nanton and the West Mamprusi Districts and is geared towards addressing the main causes of poverty and child labour.
Mr. Sulemana said child trafficking and labour were on the ascendancy in the Northern Region hence the need for RAINS to address childhood needs at the community levels and that parents and guardians would be counselled on the need to send their girl children to school.
Mr. Sulemana said Parent/Teacher Associations (PTAs), School Management Committees and Teachers were on the ground to identify those to benefit from the package and expressed the hope that the three-year project would succeed.
He said RAINS Child Protection Officers and outreach workers would take identified young people through various stages of counselling, career discussions and advise parents and family members to help the programme to sustain.
Alhaji Abubakari Atori, Savelugu/Nanton District Chief Executive (DCE)said the problem of child labour and fostering were serious in the district and needed the concern of all to address it.
He said there was the need, for stakeholders to help address some negative cultural values from the district and to educate communities on the need to enrol children, particularly the girl child into formal schools to better their lives.
Alhaji Atori commended RAINS for the initiative and gave the assurance that the two sister districts would collaborate to ensure that the project sustained to improve education and health status of the people.
Mrs. Cecilia Mumuni, a Board Member of RAINS stressed the importance of the project and appealed to parents, Assembly Members, community leaders and DCEs in the two districts to contribute the quota towards education improvement.
She assured RAINS preparedness to source more
funds through other external donors for the programme
to sustain even after the three-year period.