Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection has called on African leaders to invest financially in the development of policies for children to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ms Djaba said it was imperative for African leaders to consciously mainstream issues of child welfare and development into its programmes to protect their rights and save them from abuse.
The Minister made the call in Accra at the weekend in a speech read on her behalf at a symposium to mark the Day of the Africa Child (DAC),on June 16.
The event was on the theme: “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development” organised by Compassion International Ghana, a Christ-centred organisation.
The celebration is to draw the attention to all and sundry to the many problems that afflict the African child and impede their development.
She said this year’s theme builds on the drive created by the 2017 theme; “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa: Accelerating Protection, Empowerment and Equal Opportunity.”.
She said the theme emphasised the need to mainstream children’s rights in all developmental programmes implemented by Member States in implementing the Agenda 2030.
“While the 2017 DAC theme focused on locating Africa’s children generally within the 2030 Agenda, the 2018 theme highlights the need to ensure that ‘No Child is Left Behind’ by specifically targeting those who are not benefitting from Africa’s growth and development”, she added.
Ms Djaba stressed that, the Sustainable Development Goals was a clarion call for a more equitable future for all and a commitment to leave no one behind especially children with a focus on the girl child.
“The children who are being left behind are those who still go through challenges in all the sectors including access to justice, education, health, protection, participation, leisure and play, among others”.
She called for accelerated efforts in collaboration with all partners to share ideas towards making sure that all children were in school and retained as well.
The Minister stated that government had formulated relevant laws such as the Children’s Act, Human Trafficking Act, Domestic Violence Act, among others to further protect children’s rights.
“Ghana has also developed a Child and Family Welfare Policy and a Justice for Children Policy to make to use existing community structures to better protect children in our families and communities”.
The Minister urged all to become child advocates or ambassadors with a renewed commitment towards alleviating the daily problems that children faced and serve as watchdogs for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Children.
Mrs Gifty Dansoah Appiah, the National Director of Compassion International Ghana said the Day was observed by the then Organisation of the African Unity since 1991, after the Soweto uprising in South Africa in 1976, where thousands of school children marched in protest against the poor quality of education they received and demanded to be taught in their own languages.
Mrs Appiah said the day called for introspection and commitment towards addressing the challenges faced by children across the continent and the aftermath of slave trade and wars in Africa left the future of many African children in limbo without any hope of attaining the needed levels of education.
She urged government to develop strategies to ensure that no child was left behind and that their outfit, that focused on holistic development of the child would continued to adhere to its mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.