The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, has called on parents to make the welfare of children their priority.
She said parents have the primary responsibility for the care and protection of children for a better future for them.
Ms. Djaba said parenting should be done with love, care, attention and all the necessary support a child needs to take up roles that will make them responsible adults.
“I entreat you (parents) to forge on and support the holistic development of our children to secure a bright future for our nation,” she charged.
The sector minister made this charge when she was speaking at the celebration of African Union (AU) Day of the African Child themed, ‘The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development for children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment, and equal opportunity,’ in Accra.
The celebration, marked on 16th June each year, was instituted to draw the attention of all actors to prevailing child development issues and challenges and unite their efforts towards improving the conditions of children on the continent.
Ms Djaba, who gave the keynote address, said child marriage, teenage pregnancy, child labour, child abuse, child trafficking and child commercial sex working, among others, are some of the challenges affecting the development of the Ghanaian child.
“Results from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) indicated early and forced marriage to be increasing from 25.9% in 2006 to 27% in 2011; and the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS) also shows that 21.8% of children aged five to seventeen, are engaged in child labor,” she noted.
The gender minister explained that these challenges are outcomes of negative socio-cultural practices, poverty, poor parenting and disparities in national development.
She however, said that the ministry, in collaboration with some partners, was investing heavily to address issues the society faces, which hinder the development of children.
She said the ministry was implementing the Child and Family Welfare and Justice for Children policies, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, campaigning against child marriage and a five-year strategic plan to end teenage pregnancy, among others, to make the society a safer place for the development of the child.
“We will continue our community dialogues on issues of child abuse, child prostitution and child labour so that communities will appreciate the gravity of harm these cause children; and make communities protectors of their own children,” she affirmed.
She advised children to learn hard, be obedient to parents and guardians and take advantage of the various opportunities.
By Abigail Owiredu-Boateng & Patricia Ashiagbor