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01.09.2004 Regional News

National Gender and Children's Policy launched

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Accra, Sept. 1, GNA - A National Gender and Children's Policy and an Early Childhood Development Policy that set out a wide range of strategies for the improvement of living standards of women and children were launched in Accra on Wednesday.

The documents prepared by the Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs (MOWAC) in collaboration with other stakeholders also mainstreamed gender concerns into the national agenda.

The Ministry, since its establishment in 2001, had come under intense criticism from various sectors and stakeholders, including politicians, gender activists and some legislators for operating for the past three-and-a-half years without a national policy.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency after the launch of the documents, Mrs Hannah Tetteh Kpodar, NDC Member of Parliament for the Awutu-Senya in the Central Region, said although it had taken the Ministry quite a while to come up with a policy, it was better late than never.

According to her, a policy document was an important ingredient needed to run any meaningful programme for women and children and address gender issues.

The MP said she had not studied the documents, but expressed the hope that should the NDC take over the reigns of governance in 2005, they would go through the policies and make changes where necessary although this would not prevent them from carrying on with the implementation of the policies.

Some goals of the two policies include promoting gender equity and upholding child survival, protection and development.

The district assemblies are expected to have the responsibility of managing and implementing specific programmes aimed at reducing poverty and seeing to children's welfare.

The documents have been fine-tuned and aligned to various international conventions and treaties assented to by Ghana.

Senior Minister, Mr J. H. Mensah, who launched the documents, called on society to shoulder part of the burden that modern day workingwomen had in taking care of children.

He said it was also important "to bring up the economic status of women to ensure that they were equal partners with men in life's journey".

According to the Senior Minister, society owed children the duty of making their early life one of love and care to ensure the survival of the human race.

He said Ghana had gone beyond the Millennium Development Goals in ensuring that children had adequate pre-school learning experience under the provisions of the documents.

Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, said President Kufuor's Administration had lived up to expectation because "by affirmative action we got about 50 per cent of women into the district assemblies".

She said the Ministry had submitted various reports, including the National Programme of Action for Children 2004 -2014, to some international organisations including the United Nations system, as part of the country's reporting obligations to these organisations.

She thanked various organisations for their support to the Ministry including the 26.5 billion cedis provided by the Japanese government for the micro-finance projects.

Mr Albert Fawundu, UNDP Resident Coordinator, said when the needs of women and children were taken care of posterity was assured of a better future.

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