The Government of Ghana in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, led by its Minister, Nana Oye Lithur has launched a 16 days activism campaign against Gender based Violence in Accra.
The day, also known as the “orange day”, saw the many who graced the occasion like children, teachers, the market women association, representatives from the department of DOVSSU, queen mothers and Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi (country representative of UNFPA) all dressed in Orange to pledge their support against gender based violence.
In her address, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Nana Oye Lithur passionately appealed to school heads, teachers, parents to help address the problem of school related gender-based violence in Ghana.
According to her research has shown that school authorities and parents can drastically reduce figures of school related gender-based violence if they consciously put in an effort to ensure that no school child suffers violence based on his / her gender.
The Gender Minister affirmed that Ghana’s education sector continues to record progress towards the attainment of gender parity at the basic level of education. However, sexual and gender-based violence is affecting girl child education in Ghana
“Evidence indicates that school related gender based violence affects millions of children and adolescents worldwide. It is one of the worst manifestations of gender discrimination and violates a wide range of children’s rights. Education is critical in empowering and transforming the lives of young people, especially girls, yet widespread gender-based violence in and around schools seriously undermines the achievement quality, inclusive and equitable education for all children”, she added
Nana Oye Lithur further revealed that recent estimates from Plan International (2013) based on the number of children affected by verbal bullying, a common form of violence in schools show 246 million boys and girls suffering school –related violence every year.
She stated that the 16 days Campaign which begins on November 25 the international Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women ends on December 10, International Human rights Day, emphasizes that gender-based violence in its many forms (defilement, rape, physical, verbal and emotional assault) is a human rights violation.
Mrs. Lithur pointed that this year’s campaign is a direct response to increasing violence against education, especially of young girls and women as in the case of the forceful abduction of the Chibok school girls in Nigeria.
Stressing on this year’s team ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All” she noted that education is a public good and fundamental human right and sympathized with girls and women in many parts of the world who have had their education affected by growing violence and conflict.
The Gender Minister further outlined major setbacks to girls’ education such as teenage pregnancy and early marriage, Nana Oye Lithur called on all stakeholders in the education sector to help bring to an end school-related gender-based violence.
She reiterated her ministry’s commitment to put in place the necessary legal and policy framework to address all issues that affect women’s rights and gave a strong indication of hope for Ghanaian women.
In a statement delivered by the National Head of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit ACP Habiba Tsumasi Sarpong she emphasized her Unit's readiness to support victims of Human Rights abuses, and ensure that justice is meted out to whoever the perpetrators may be.
ACP Tsumasi Sarpong encouraged victims of gender-based violence to feel free to report. She further paid tribute to the many victims and survivors of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence in the country and around the world; and also to all the fore warriors against domestic violence.
The day also witness performances and a play staged to educate all on reporting Gender Violence and taking a stance against it.
By Eyra Doe