The international hybrid conference for the CSO networks capacity building workshop on Advocacy to end Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Child Marriage has ended with a call to end GBV situations in Ghana and West Africa… now!
This initiative was implemented by ProHumane Afrique International-Ghana and the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) Nigeria, with funding from the Ford Foundation West Africa Office through its BUILD project. Participants joined from Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal and Liberia.
This international conference held in Accra sought to, among other things, increase knowledge, awareness and understanding of new and emerging factors putting girls and women at risk of Gender Based Violence and Child Marriage.
The conference as part of its objectives addressed new and emerging opportunities to end these practices, identified advocacy issues to end child-marriage and strengthen the capacity and efficacy of selected CSOs and CSO networks to design and conduct evidence-informed advocacy on how to accelerate action to end GBV and Child Marriage.
Selected CSOs and CSO networks – including the SDG Goal 5 platform, Girls Not Brides, Netwright, UNFPA and the University of Ghana’s Department of Gender among others – took turns to address delegates during the opening ceremony.
Conference delegates undertook an advocacy visit, conducted on the third day, to the 50 year-old OIC Ghana – one of the first and oldest TVET centres in Ghana, where students there were educated and encouraged to speak up on GBV issues. The authorities thanked the delegates and pledged commitment in supporting the centre to create more awareness for its students through the Guidance and Counselling unit of the centre.
Government officials, academia, CSO networks, implementing partners as well as non-government actors shared experiences on issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and proposes how these global issues can be addressed.
Globally, 12 million girls marry before age 18 each year – which is almost one every 2 seconds. More than 150 million girls by 2030 will be married before age 18 – if we don’t take action to stop child-marriage now! Child-marriage violates girls’ rights to health, education and opportunity. Ending child-marriage and guaranteeing girls’ rights means a fairer, more secure and prosperous future for all.
Present at the opening ceremony was Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Sarah Adjoa Safo’s special representative, who read an address on her behalf and said Gender-based violence is a violation of fundamental human rights that denies the victim’s human dignity and hampers national development. The unequal power relations between men and women are among the root causes of gender-based violence faced by the country and the continent as a whole, she said.
The minister said her ministry has developed several policies, laws, and strategies to protect women and girls to enable them fully contribute their quota to national development. Among these frameworks are a five-year Strategic Plan to address Adolescent Pregnancy in Ghana; a National Gender Policy and its Strategic Implementation Plan; National framework on ending Child Marriage and National Domestic Violence Policy; and a Plan of Action to implement the Domestic Violence Act, 2007 (Act 732).
Madam Safo said the ministry has made interventions as part of efforts to adequately address gender-based violence and child-marriage – through engagement with men and boys as advocates for gender equality, and the elimination of harmful cultural practices to aid in rescuing the girl-child from early marriage.