Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA), an initiative by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and its partners to guard against child abuse and strengthen child protection systems in the country, has placed a spotlight on activities of communities along the Lake Volta in the Krachi East Municipality of the Volta Region.
Reports revealed that a majority of children aged 10 years or younger are engaged in hazardous and physically demanding work in these fishing communities.
While the boys are forced to work on the Lake Volta even in unfavourable weather conditions, their female counterparts are seen completing most of the tasks onshore, keeping many away from school and denying them normal lives.
The Municipal Social Welfare and Community Development Officer, Mr Lambert Egblewogbe, told Citi News there have increasing cases of child abuse in the area with most of such children becoming school dropouts.
“The whole municipality, we have lakeside communities, the islands and then where we have the satellite markets where most of these children are used in the market and with others being used on the lake. The school enrolment here is not encouraging because if you get to market days you will see almost all the children more than 60% per cent in the market in school uniforms doing all these things” he lamented.
Known as the Child Protection Social Drive Campaign and with support from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, KOICA, USAID and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the initiative sought to drive and shift the attention of Ghanaians to the best practices for the development of their children.
The team was in Dambai to sensitize parents and opinion leaders on the need to protect the rights of the children and support their growth.
Hundreds of school children, mostly girls who participated in the event where empowered to report such abuses to relevant stakeholders in order to be rescued.
A play was also staged by the Centre for National Culture (CNC) from Ho to depict the menace and acquaint the public with the government’s Child and Family Welfare and Justice for Children policies.
The UNICEF Representative warned the students against mobile phone addictions and advised them to practice healthy relationships with the opposite sex.
She also advised parents to be responsible and not push their children into forced labour.