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15.06.2005 Regional News

Policy makers told to go to the rural areas


Tema, June 15, GNA - Participants at a forum to mark the African Day of the Child have called on policy makers to visit the rural areas to have a fair idea of their needs before drawing development programmes for them.

This will also enhance grassroots participation in nation building. This was contained in statements made by representatives of 28 first and second cycle schools represented at the forum organised by the Abibiman Foundation, a member of a group of non-governmental organisations working on Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) in Tema on Tuesday.

They also appealed to the government to ensure that in its efforts to reduce poverty the Poverty Alleviation Fund is shared equally and used according to the intended purposes.

They mentioned poverty, fallen education standards, poor parenting and inadequate economic infrastructure, political instability, conflict and refugee environment as major challenges facing the African Child. The school children expressed the hope that "governments and international institutions would commit themselves to play leading roles to tackle the issues and deliver sustainable development as being pledged by them in their daily speeches".

Dr (Mrs) Leticia E. Obeng, a former Director of the Regional Office for Africa, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said the future of the world depended on children.

''Therefore, when thrown into an environment saddled with poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and lack of education to handle the environment, they will not be able to stand the challenges of the future.''