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27.07.2005 Regional News

Workshop to document lessons, strategies on street children opens

GNA

Kumasi, July 27, GNA - A three-day workshop which aims at assembling best practices gathered from the street children project with the view to developing a manual on best practices opened in Kumasi on Wednesday.

The workshop is part of efforts to document lessons, strategies and experiences in re-integrating of street children into mainstream Ghanaian society.

It is being organised by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) in collaboration with the project liaison unit and the project management unit of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and sponsored by the World Bank.

Managers of the Community-Based Poverty Reduction Project (CPRP) are attending the workshop from the four implementing urban localities. They are Accra in the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Kumasi in the KMA, Takoradi in the Shama-Ahanta East Metropolitan Assembly (SAEMA) and Tamale in the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TMA). Opening the workshop, Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Deputy Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, said given the right approach and supportive environment, Ghana can reduce the phenomena of streetism considerably.

She said she had for several years been involved in projects of this nature that sought to empower the disadvantaged members of the society and mentioned what used to be called the Tamale Street Children Project now called Youth Alive as one such a project she had been involved in. "I have seen deprived children from this project whose lives have been transformed into successful school children, small-scale business entrepreneurs in carpentry, electronics, sewing etc." Madam Osei-Opare said government was committed to create wealth and distribute the wealth equitably to ensure poverty reduction. Government has therefore, she said, embarked on a number of initiatives to promote productivity among all sections of the productive sector and included activities of government in the priority areas of human resource development, good governance and private sector development.

Mr. Kofi Asante Frimpong, National Co-ordinator for the CPRP, said over 2,750 children had been reached through the interventions of 37 service providers of the project.

Mr. Frimpong said as a complement to the provision of integrated services some activities, including the provision of training and counselling support to improve the income earning capacity of parents and guardians of street children had been undertaken. He said the project also undertook knowledge, attitude and practice survey to guarantee lessons for further training of stakeholders and to influence policy on the phenomenon.

The provision of counselling package and services as well as training of master craftsmen and women to enable them to handle street children better was also undertaken under the project, while the street children themselves benefited from the counselling package and services to enable them to take appropriate decisions concerning their future activities.

Mr. Frimpong said a community conflict management and resolution study to enhance the capacity of existing conflict resolution mechanisms to prevent children from running into the streets was undertaken. He said a number of lessons had been learnt and documented in the provision of integrated services and the implementation of other interventions.

"What we need to ask ourselves is whether these lessons have been well documented for easy use by service providers who will work with the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment on the phenomenon of street children after the close of their project."

The lessons and best policies documented therefore, will inform the policy document on managing the street children phenomenon, he added. Madam Patricia Appiagyei, Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, said the KMA had established 10 Child Panel Committees in the metropolis to ensure that the project was on course.

The communities are Duase, Emena, Asuoyeboa, Ayigya, Ohwim, Moshie-Zongo, Asem, Anwomaso and Ayeduase.

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