Stakeholders call for young persons’ knowledge bridging on Children’s Act and Laws protecting children in Ghana.

Increasing awareness and deepening knowledge on the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560), the Juvenile Justice Act, 2003 (Act 653) as well as the Child and Family Welfare Policy, stakeholders have called for engagements to sensitize and enhance knowledge of young persons.

They have also called for the inclusion of persons with disability in decision making processes especially in the implementation of the National Child and Family Welfare Policy 2015.

Ms. Esther Yayra Attipoe, the Legal and Advocacy Manager of Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF), who made the call in Accra on Tuesday at a forum said engaging more young persons with disability, on their rights to participate in decision making processes at the local levels would create the platforms for their engagements with local government officials.

The forum dubbed: “Access to Justice for Youth and Persons with Disability in Ghana”, and organized by the YBF, followed-up on initial consultations and sought to validate the key messages developed from the Child and Family Welfare Policy (2015) as well as the “PUZZLED” Drama Series supported by Open Society Initiative if West Africa (OSIWA).

Ms. Attipoe, who is also the Project Manager for “Access to Justice for Youth and Persons with Disability in Ghana” implemented by YBF, observed that, building on the Foundation’s previous intervention, “Securing the Future of Young People in Ghana through Improved Juvenile Justice Administration” is the second phase of the project rolled out.

She mentioned that the ongoing Project is being implemented in six districts in three regions of the country.

“These are Suhum Municipality and Akwapim North district in the Eastern Region, Agona West and Cape Coast Metropolitan in the Central Region and Ahanta-West and Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly in the Western Region,” she said.

Mr. Seth Oteng, the Executive Director of YBF, said: “Our commitment to youth –inclusive development is critical for nation building” stressing that opportunities must be equitably shared without any discrimination.

“That is why YBF is championing policies such as Right of the Juvenile to Justice to enhance youth development,” he said.

Mr. Oteng recounted how most of the time the policies are difficult to be understood by the young ones, and called for better capacity building approaches and platforms that would be used to engage the youth in friendly discourse for better understanding of the countries policies by young people.

He also expressed worry about the lack of capacity among the youth to appreciate the beautifully worded and well-intended policies as well as the platforms to engage in discourse creating gaps in the implementation of the Child and Family Welfare Policy adding  that; “These gaps needs to be addressed for the development of the youth.”

Mr. Oteng noted that to generate national discussions among the youth, YBF was going to engage young people in schools and communities to promote that.

Touching on the “PUZZLED”, a drama series based on key messages developed by YBF from the Child and Family Welfare Policy, that brings to bare some of the inhumane plights the youth are exposed to in the country and set to be premiered by YBF, Mr. Oteng noted that he was looking forward to see the “PUZZLED” helping solve societal ills confronting the youth in the country.

The 13-episode drama series, is an initiative of the YBF, and funded by OSIWA.

Speaking on behalf of Hon. Gifty Twum-Ampofo, the Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Mrs. Florence Ayisi Quartey, the Acting Director, Department of Children at MoGCSP, charged stakeholders to ensure the welfare of children are protected and projected in the country since the Children’s Act which was passed in 1998 binds the country to do so.

She expressed happiness about YBF’s partnership with the Ministry towards the projection and promotion of the Child and Family Welfare Policy 2015 and its timeliness as the Ministry is planning towards public sensitization.

She further commended Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA) for the support to YBF.

The forum brought together about 26 participants drawn from government machinery and agencies that included the MoGCSP, Department of Social Welfare, Teachers and parents from Special Schools in Project districts, youth-led community-based organizations as well as in and out-of-school youth that included Persons with Disability.

As part of events marking the forum, “Puzzled”, which forms part of activities, marking the phase two implementation of the “Access to Justice for Youth and Persons with Disability in Ghana” Project was previewed.

YBF is a youth focused Non-Governmental Organization committed to youth development in Ghana.

It has the mandate of creating supportive platforms to challenge the creativity of the youth, and to make available critical information and resources needed for their total development.

As a youth focused group, it has the vision of equipping the youth with appropriate information, platforms and resources that would enhance their physical, mental and socio-economic well-being and further help develop them into responsible adults.

SOURCE: YBF COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT.

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