Hon. Minister’s Meet The Press Statement
May 24, 2018 1:13 pm
Hon. Deputy Ministers,
Heads of Agencies of the MoGCSP,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to express my gratitude to the Ministry of Information for putting together this media interaction platform and the press for honouring the invitation. I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for giving me the opportunity to serve in his government and the people of Ghana for their support. The objectives of our meeting this morning are to:
- share our comprehensive programmes;
- achievements and
- Challenges from February, 2017 to way forward for 2018.
MoGCSP was created in 2013 by Executive Instrument (EI 1) to replace the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWAC). The current Ministry is an amalgam of MoWAC, Department of Social Welfare (DSW), National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD), the Ghana School Feeding Programme, the Social Protection Division of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR).
The Ministry has a vision to create a harmonious society in which the survival and development of the sexes, children, the vulnerable, and persons with disability are guaranteed.
MoGCSP exists to contribute to the development of the nation by achieving gender equality and equity; facilitate the enforcement of the rights of children; promote the integration and protection of the vulnerable, excluded and persons with disabilities in the development process working with integrity, excellence, fairness and respect for diversity.
We have a mandate to:
- Ensure gender equality through the mainstreaming of gender considerations,
- Promote the welfare and protection of children and
- Empower the vulnerable, the excluded, the aged and persons with disabilities through social protection interventions to contribute to national development.
ACHIEVEMENTS BASED ON PROGRAMMES AND ACTIVITIES
Mr. Chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some key achievements of the Ministry:
- Development of Laws and Establishment of Boards
We have been strengthening the legal frameworks to promote the mainstreaming of gender, children and social protection issues into the national development discourse. Bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, the Aged Bill, the Foster Care and Adoption Regulations were submitted and approved by Cabinet in 2016, the change in government requires that, they are resubmitted to the new Cabinet for approval. In line with this, the Ministry undertook further consultations on the following bills and regulations to reflect the broader views of the public and government priorities for women, children and the vulnerable:
- The Foster Care and Adoption Regulations are at their final stage of passage in Parliament.
- The Affirmative Action Bill has been re-submitted to Cabinet for consideration and approval.
- Four (4) Bills; the Aged Persons, Social Protection, Persons with Disability, and Ghana School Feeding Bills will be taken through stakeholder consultations and subsequent submission to Cabinet for approval.
- Existing legal documents and policies such as the Domestic Violence Act, the Human Trafficking Act, the Children’s Act are being translated into voice format in eleven (11) Ghanaian languages for easy access by the general public.
To ensure the achievement of the Ministry’s mandate, a number of boards have been constituted in line with Acts of Parliament to advise and provide technical support to the Ministry. These include:
- The Ministerial Advisory Board,
- The Human Trafficking Management Board,
- Domestic Violence Management Board,
- The Cancer Board,
- Adoption Board and
- The National Council on Persons with Disability Board,
2. Gender Equality and Women Empowerment
- A series of programmes were undertaken to mark calendar events such as the International Women’s Day (IWD), Breast Cancer Awareness Month which was marked with 3 national durbars and 30 regional durbars. The Ministry observed these days with a variety of programmes including durbars, health walk within the year under review. The celebration of these calendar events created the necessary awareness on current and emerging issues affecting women, children and other vulnerable groups.
- The Ghana National Action Plan (GHANAP) on the UN Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security was reviewed to ensure the full representation and active participation of women in conflict, prevention, resolution, peace, negotiation, mediation, crisis and security management at all levels of the Ghanaian society.
- A capacity building training workshop was organized for 28 Gender Desk officers from other Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and 40 officers from Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly (MMDAs) on mainstreaming the National Gender Policy into their plans to ensure that the rights, interests and special needs of women and girls are integrated into policy formulation and implementation.
- The Ministry continued to create awareness on fistula in prevalent communities which targeted Chiefs, Queen mothers, opinion and Religious Leaders. These activities were to mark the World Fistula Day.
- 400 kayayei were trained in livelihood and pre-employment skills. Furthermore, a comprehensive 5-year strategic plan is being developed with a broad stakeholder consultation to eradicate the phenomenon.
- The Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Health with support from the UNFPA organised a two-day inter-ministerial conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as part of activities of the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA). The campaign also mobilizes political commitment and action to reduce maternal mortality in Africa.
- The Ministry introduced some special initiatives in the area of gender. A mentorship programme for Girls has been initiated to build their leadership capacity nationwide to empower girls to take active participation in developing their potential and that of their communities as well as the nation as a whole. In relation to this, a Summit was held in the Central Region for 90 students on the theme “Empowering the Girl Child for Sustainable Development of the Central Region”. We are also building a database for all girls’ groups in Ghana to help identify them for support.
- The Ministry Launched the Ghana HeForShe Campaign on Tuesday, 12th December, 2017 as part of the UN global agenda to ensure gender equality, equity and empowerment. The objective of the campaign is to promote the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 5 aimed at achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls. His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the Co-chair of Eminent AU Gender Champion delivered the key note address during the launch. He is also the Ambassador extraordinaire for the HeForShe campaign in Ghana. The Ministry intends to launch the campaign in all regions.
3. Child Rights Promotion, Protection and Development
- The President’s End-of-Year Party for 2500 children was commemorated at Kyebi on 22nd December 2017. The President, Nana Akufo-Addo graced the occasion and encouraged children to be studious and learn to help them to contribute to the development of mother Ghana tomorrow.
- The Ministry has begun the process for the development of a Child Protection Information Management System for data capture, sharing and monitoring with support from Both Ends Burning and Unicef.
- A Technical Committee on adoption has been established in March 2018 and is reviewing adoption applications to ensure that only applicants who meet the eligibility and suitability criteria are placed with adoptable children. In collaboration with the Judicial Service, all High Court Judges have been sensitized on the Hague Adoption procedures and the Children’s Amendment Act, 2016 (Act 937).
- A training workshop was held for 300 regional child protection committee members on the operational plan and reporting templates for the Child and Family Welfare Policy and Justice for Children Policy.
- In collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, we launched the Ghana Against Child Abuse [GACA] movement to sensitize Ghanaians on how to protect children from abuse, violence and exploitation.
4.0 Social Development
4.1 Social Services
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Ministry developed various programmes and interventions to eradicate the Kayayei phenomenon. These are:
- A five-year Strategic Plan to eradicate ‘kayayei’ is being developed through the support of UNFPA.
- A mapping of ‘kayayei’ is ongoing in the major markets across the country to gather data to inform decision
- The Ministry is working with GRATIS Foundation and KNUST to manufacture robust trolleys for kayayei.
- We also plan to link these vulnerable women to small holder farming through the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.
- The Ministry has developed a Porterage Module to link women in rural communities to the Government’s initiatives such as the one Village, One Dam and One District, one Factory to make them economically independent.
- The Ministry has initiated a programme dubbed ‘#Operation Get Off the Street Now For A Better Life’. The objective is to reduce the phenomenon of persons living on the street. Data collection to create a database is ongoing with 4,098 children already registered.
4.2 Social Protection
The Ministry conducted 6 nationwide sensitization workshops at the sub-national levels involving key stakeholders at that level on the Social Protection Policy in 2017.
As part of efforts to increase coordination among Social Protection programmes, the Social Protection Single Window Citizens Service has been established. Under this new initiative:
- A single window call centre (Help Line of Hope) has been launched and operationalised to receive complaints through a toll-free number 0800 800 800/ 0800 900 900 and SMS on a short code 8020.
- 268 cases ranging from disability issues, general enquiries, legal issues, financial assistance, domestics violence, psychological issues and enquires on social protection intervention (LEAP, GSFP, LIWP etc.) have been received and one hundred and ninety-six (196) have been redressed.
The Ghana National Household Registry (GNHR) has successfully completed data collection in the Upper West and Upper East Regions by registering One Hundred and Thirty-Seven Thousand Five Hundred (137,500) and One Hundred and eighty four thousand, five hundred and ninety-three (184,593) Households respectively.
As part of our efforts to ensure that all vulnerable and poor persons have access to quality health care, 550,000 LEAP beneficiaries have either been registered unto the NHIS or have their expired cards renewed. The Ministry also re-launched the re-registration of 13,000 Prison Inmates onto the Scheme.
4.3 Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty
- Under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, the Ministry continuously made six (6) successive bi-monthly payments to beneficiary households in 2017 and has conducted three (3) payments as at May 2018 covering a total of 213,044 households nation-wide.
- An additional 93,778 households who were targeted under LEAP expansion phase 2B in 42 districts in 2016 are also currently being enrolled onto the programme.
- Emergency LEAP Cash Grant was disbursed to persons who were affected by disasters (floods, rainstorms, tidal waves) in four regions (Brong Ahafo, Northern, Volta and Western) in 2017. In all, a total of 2,188 beneficiaries were covered.
- To foster effective collaboration and relationship with the Office of the Head of the Local Government Service the Ministry conducted four zonal sensitization workshops for all 216 MMDCEs and their Co-ordinating Directors on LEAP operations and processes.
- Under the Ghana Social Opportunities Project (GSOP) with funding support from the World Bank, the LEAP II Programme is currently being developed and this will not only focus on cash transfers to beneficiary households but also include Productive and Financial Inclusion.
4.4 Ghana School Feeding Programme
- Under the programme the Ministry implemented a new caterer contracting guideline which required caterers to purchase food items from Local Farmers and Fishermen. Eight Thousand (8,000) new caterers have been engaged.
- The programme carries out routine monitoring on a daily bases to ensure that caterers adhere to programme standards. This year, about 58% of schools have been monitored.
- An amount of GH¢285,304,109.00 was released to clear arrears owed to Caterers from 2015 to the end of 2017. In 2018, an amount of GH¢423,930,000.00 has been allocated by the Ministry of Finance for the School Feeding Programme.
- Through the expansion of the programme, the number of beneficiary pupils has been increased by 30% from (1,671,777 to 2,174.000). This means 501,536 pupils have been added unto the programme.
5.Securing Inclusion for Persons with Disability
- A national dialogue was held in 2017 with 200 representatives of various disability organizations to discuss disability and related issues.
- 50 stakeholders have been sensitized on mainstreaming the provisions in the Ghana Accessibility Standard for the Built-environment into Ghana’s building regulations.
- A document on the framework and strategies on disability mainstreaming in MMDAs has been developed. The provisions in the document serve as a guide to MMDAs on how to include disability issues in development plans.
6.Human Trafficking And Domestic Violence
6.1 Human Trafficking
In the area of Human Trafficking, the following activities were undertaken:
- Finalized, printed and disseminated its National Plan of Action on Human Trafficking to give detailed implementation plan in fighting the menace in Ghana.
- Opened Human Trafficking Fund Account with a seed amount of Five Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢500,000.00).
- Supported 4 shelters which are rehabilitating rescued victims of trafficking with an amount of GHC27, 800.00.
- Provided shelter and rehabilitation services for 159 rescued child victims and 7 adults.
Ghana joined the rest of the World to commemorate The World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (Blue Day) under the theme: “Stakeholders’ Unite to End Human Trafficking: Take Action Now” at Senya Bereku on 30th July, 2017.
6.2 Domestic Violence
- The Ministry organized one market women’s conference at the Holy Spirit Cathedral Church for 600 market women from various markets in Accra. The aim was to interact with market women on improving child care and facilities at the various market places.
- Created Facebook page (Ghana Ends Child Marriage) and Twitter (@ChildMarriageGh) accounts which are continually being used to engage audiences with the right information using the #GhanaEndsChildMarriage. The Facebook page currently has over 30, 000 Likes, with more people visiting the page by the day.
- Celebrated 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence with a media launch and a durbar at Assin Ando with the objective to raise awareness on defilement and gender based violence on 10th December, 2016.
- The Ministry marked the International Day for Zero Tolerance against Female Genital Mutilation with radio talk shows and a durbar at Pusiga where FGM is still practiced in February, 2018. The Durbar attracted 1000 people including Chiefs. Over 1000 copies of factsheets on FGM and the Domestic Violence Act were distributed to the public.
7.International Obligations And Commitments
As a Ministry, we have a number of international commitments which include participation and reporting. The Ministry therefore participated in the following:
- The 61st and 62nd Sessions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York in 2017and 2018 respectively.
- The 28th Session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group from 6th – 17th November, 2017 in Geneva Switzerland.
- The 7th and 8th sessions of the UN Open Ended Working Group on Ageing at the UN Headquarters.
- The 2017 and 2018 United Nations Commission on Social Protection meeting
- The 10th session of the UN Conference of State Parties to the Convention the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in June, 2017.
Mr. Chairman, in spite of the successes that the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has chalked over the past years, there are still herculean challenges that need to be addressed. These include:
- Inadequate funding for MoGCSP activities and delay in the release of funds especially to GSFP caterers.
- Inadequate staff to meet expanded mandate.
- Inadequate office space to accommodate the entire Ministry
Our immense contribution to the promotion, protection and welfare of the vulnerable has gained recognition at both National and International levels;
- In 2017, the IMANI Centre for Policy and Education adjudged the Ministry, the most inspirational Public Sector institution in Ghana.
- The Ministry in 2018 was awarded for its outstanding contribution to gender and children’s rights during the African Public Sector Conference and Awards in Kagali, Rwanda. At the same event, I was awarded a special recognition for promoting gender equality in the country.
- The Ministry also received the European Award for Best Practices 2018 in Brussels, Belgium from the European Society for Quality Research.
The Ministry will continue to implement planned programmes and projects in line with its sector policies and objectives in the areas of Gender, Children and Social Protection. The Ministry would hold a First Ladies Conference on ending child marriage and other harmful traditional and cultural practices and the 2nd AU Girls Summit in August in collaboration with 1st Ladies Office and the AU Commission.
Mr. Chairman, our presentation has demonstrated that, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is working to make life better for the vulnerable and excluded to ensure that, no one is left out or behind in the socio-economic development of our country. We continue to improve and expand government’s Social Protection interventions under our care.
It is our hope that we will build on the support from our partners and the general public towards the realisation of the Ministry’s mandate and The President’s vision of a Ghana beyond Aid.
We take this opportunity to thank the media for the immense support you have given us by carrying our programmes across Ghana and beyond.
Mr. Chairman, my Ministry is responsible for the vulnerable, the excluded, the disadvantaged, the marginalised, the extreme poor, and the neglected. We need to break the barriers of social cultural norms, taboos and harmful traditional and cultural practices. We must look after each other as a community of Ghanaians.
My Ministry is therefore in a unique position to be the voice of the voiceless as we work to ensure no one is left behind.
Thank you for your attention.