The organizing committee of the NGO Forum is calling on government to live up to expectations, by increasing the budget allocation for child protection in Ghana and ensuring a full disbursement of the entire budget to the beneficiary institution.
In 2017, 72.6 million Ghana Cedis was allocated for child protection out of which only 33.1% (24.03 million) was disbursed, according to data available.
This was made known to the media during the 2019 Ghana NGO Forum held at the Bank of Ghana Auditorium, University of Ghana-Legon.
The organizing committee of the NGO Forum believes the Nana Akufo-Addo government has failed Ghanaians after submitting to parliament his coordinated Programme for Economic and Social Development Policies (2017-2024) indicating that, “technical and financial resources will be prioritized at all levels, to ensure effective implementation of child protection and family welfare programmes”.
Based on the above, the forum is demanding government adjust the amount destined for Child Protection to help fund and implement existing plans and policies particularly in key areas such as Birth Registration, Justice for Children, Child Marriage and Child Sexual and Reproductive Health among others.
Meanwhile the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs. Cynthia Morrison, believes getting closer to children and strengthening them is what is most required in child protection.
According to her, the government in collaboration with other partners have strengthened the child protection systems by formulating child and family welfare and the justice for children policies, which place the child at the center of the family and community thus, making the protection of the child everyone’s responsibility.
She added that as government provides the necessary legal and policy framework to ensure children do not lack, parents must also provide the immediate needs of children who are in their care.
The forum was on the theme Preventing Child Neglect: Whose Responsibility?
BELOW IS THE FULL STATEMENT
THE 2019 GHANA NGO FORUM
“CHILD PROTECTION: WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY?
POSITION PAPER OF THE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
Ghana was the first country to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990.
Nearly 30 years later, the Government of Ghana (GoG) still does not fully comply with what the Committee of the CRC has observed Ghana needs to do for vulnerable children, namely:
“Prioritize and substantially increase the budgetary allocations in the social sectors, ensuring implementation of the economic, social and cultural rights of children, particularly for the improvement of health-care services, education and protection of vulnerable groups of children”
On the domestic front the 2016 NPP Manifesto stated that as a party it “remains committed to gender equality and children’s rights” and will pursue full implementation of relevant Acts including the Human Trafficking Acts.
Furthermore, in his submission to the Ghanaian Parliament, on his government’s Coordinated Programme for Economic and Social Development Policies (2017-2024), President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated that, “technical and financial resources will be prioritized at all levels, to ensure effective implementation of child protection and family welfare programmes.”
In 2017, 72.6 million Ghana cedis was allocated for child protection of which, shockingly, only 33.1% was disbursed, as can be seen in the table below.
Although a lot of work by the NGO sector and UNICEF as well as GoG has gone into various well-crafted and fully costed policies and plans for the protection of Ghana’s children they have lacked full and effective implementation.
The government has adopted, but not fully implemented, the Child and Family Welfare Policy (2014), the Justice for Children Policy (2015), the National Gender Policy (2015), the Five Year (2018-2022) Strategic Plan to prevent Adolescent Pregnancies, Ghana Family Planning Costing Implementation Plan (2016 – 2020) and the National Strategic Framework on Ending Child Marriage for (2017-2018) along with their costed operational plans. Equally, the “Automated System for the Registration of Births and Deaths” (SRBD) and the Care Reform Initiative need to be fully funded so that rollout can be completed.
The budget required to bring child protection services in Ghana up to the minimum level demanded by the CRC is small compared to the budget required for children’s education, health and sanitation.
However, these child protection allocations are critically important as they address the needs of the most vulnerable children, and the economic benefits of preventing abuse or addressing existing abuse are substantial.
Based on the above mentioned issues, we demand that Government increase the amount destined to child protection in the 2020 and subsequent budgets and that the budget should subsequently be entirely disbursed to adequately fund and implement the existing plans and policies particularly in the key areas of Birth Registration, Alternative Care, Justice for Children, Child Marriage and Child Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Mrs. Helena Obeng Asamoah: Chairperson (Chief Executive Officer, Kae Me)
Barimah Akwasi Amankwaah: Member (National Coordinator, Ghana NGOs Coalition on the Rights of the Child/GNCRC)
Naa Adjorkor Mohenu: Member (Country Director, Bethany Christian Services)
Lisa Lovatt-Smith: Member (Founder, OAfrica)
Dr. Ben Ocra: Member (Director, National Philanthropy Forum)
Kingsley Obeng-Kyereh: Member (Coordinator, Curious Minds)
Paul Sitsofe: Member (Programmes Officer, Ghanaians Against Child Abuse/GACA)